Live

Watch CBSN Live

Purple Heart to be returned 2 decades after being found on playground

MANLIUS, N.Y. -- A Purple Heart medal posthumously awarded to a New York soldier killed in Vietnam is being returned to his family about two decades after it was found on a school playground.

Purple Hearts Reunited says Pfc. Thomas McGraw's medal will be presented to his widow and daughter Nov. 4 during a ceremony in Manlius, near Syracuse.

McGraw was killed in an ambush in February 1966 while serving with the Army's 1st Cavalry Division. The Purple Heart disappeared and turned up in the 1990s, when a student found it outside a suburban Syracuse elementary school.

medalk.jpg
Pfc. Thomas McGraw's widow, and his daughter, Robin, are seen receiving the Purple Heart he was awarded after his death Zachariah Fike/Purple Hearts Reunited.

In January, the mother of the boy who found the medal contacted Purple Hearts Reunited. The group's founder, Army National Guard Capt. Zachariah Fike, told CBS News that they were able to track down one of McGraw's brothers, who put the group in touch with his daughter, Robin. She claims the medal was stolen 15 years ago and assumed she would never see it again, Fike said.

award.jpg
Widow of Pfc. Thomas McGraw at ceremony at which she was handed his Purple Heart Zachariah Fike/Purple Hearts Reunited

The Vermont-based group returns lost or stolen military medals to veterans and their families. According to a Facebook post by the group, McGraw was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and is honored on the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Panel 4E, Row 130.

View CBS News In