State treasurer wants to return military medals to owners

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JEFFERSON BARRACKS, MO (KTVI)– These are just a handful of the medals that Missouri state treasurer Clint Zweifel is keeping safely guarded.

“These medals come to us because of unclaimed property,” says Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel.  “So these are old safe deposit boxes or we’re inheriting the old safe deposit boxes after they’re dormant and they we’re finding way to try and return those back to their owners.”

The new military medal return bill takes effect today, and that’s why Zweifel, area lawmakers and veterans gathered at Jefferson Barracks Chapel.

“The medals to me are a symbol of our service and being recognized by our government,” says Vietnam Veteran George Newell.

Previously medals like these that went unclaimed would be sold.

And for some veterans in attendance Wednesday, it’s understandable how the state of Missouri came to have more than 120 medals and insignia in their unclaimed property department.

“A lot of veterans don’t really get into sharing with their families what they experienced in combat,” says Vietnam Veteran Robert Murphy.

The new law allows the treasurer`s office to publicize the last known names and locations of these Missouri medal earners.

Zweifel is encouraging Show Me State residents to search his unclaimed property website.

“We’re often returning dollar amounts like checks and securities,” says Zweifel.  “This is a chance to return something that is emotional to that family and part of their history.”

And for those who lived it and lived to tell, these medals help paint a picture of service and sacrifice for this nation.

“The awards that I knew that I earned told me, ‘Job well done’,” says Murphy.

So far the treasurer`s office has returned 46 medals and hopes to return more like this Purple Heart, which any veteran will tell you need to find its proper home.

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