SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced that a Purple Heart awarded to a late Will County Marine has been returned to his only daughter.
A State Treasurer news release states that this is the 10th medal returned as part of a mission to return Purple Hearts to rightful owners.
Marine Corps Private First-Class Charles John Alexander was an infantryman with the Marines in the Pacific Theater during WWII. A bullet tore through his knee in combat while advancing during Operation Forager.
Alexander had a limp for the rest of his life.
“Private First Class Alexander served his country nearly 70 years ago, but it is never too late to honor his sacrifice,” Frerichs said.
Debbie Ernest is Alexander’s oldest living daughter, and she and her husband accepted the medal at a private ceremony.
“Having my Dad’s Purple Heart in my hands means more than words can say,” Ernest said. “I am very proud of my Father and very happy to have this honor safely back in the hands of our family.”
The medal was found in a forgotten safe deposit box in Shorewood, Illinois.
Alexander was born in Marseilles on Aug. 20, 1916. He was 27 years old the day he entered the service. He was wounded on July 20, 1944, and officially discharged the very same day.