Manhattan, NY – In recognition of National Purple Heart Day (August 7), the United War Veterans Council — along with Purple Hearts Reunited and the Daughters of the American Revolution Knickerbocker Chapter — will host an unprecedented event, reuniting eight previously lost Purple Heart Medals with an Iraq War veteran and the family members of seven deceased veterans. This public ceremony will take place at 5:15 p.m., August 7, at Federal Hall, 26 Wall Street, Manhattan.
Themed as “Eight on the Seventh” (8-7-17), this day will honor families who represent our nation’s heroes from World War I, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the War on Terror. The location of the ceremony is historically significant as it marks the site where the founding father of the Purple Heart, President George Washington, was sworn in as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789.
When servicemen and women are wounded or sacrifice their life while serving, our country awards them or their family a prestigious recognition in the form of the Purple Heart. As time passes, certain circumstances can lead to these medals being misplaced, lost or even stolen. Details on the eight Purple Heart recipients are:
WWI – Army Private Frank Lyman Dunnell Jr. of Buffalo, NY, Infantryman with the 27th Infantry Division. Wounded in the Somme Offensive on October 2, 1918. His medal was discovered at the Bank of New York and will be returned to his Great-Niece, Mrs. Carlson of Burlington, VT.
WWII – Army Sergeant George W. Roles of Edna, KS, assigned to the 35th Infantry Division. Sgt. Roles lost his life during intense fighting against the Germans in St. Lo, France. His medal was recently discovered in a California home and will be returned to his son, Nick Geasland of San Diego, CA.
WWII – Army Air Corps 1st Lieutenant Brian Woolley Flavelle of Essex County, NJ, served as a B-24 Bomber pilot, assigned to the 376th Bomber Group. Lt. Flavelle and his crew of the “Wongo Wongo” lost their lives in “Black Sunday,” the costliest mission in Air Force history, an August 1, 1943, raid on nine oil refineries around Ploiești, Romania. His medal was recently discovered in Oregon and will be returned to his two nephews, Ande & Brian Flavelle of Caldwell, NJ and Watsonville, CA, respectively.
WWII – Army Air Corps Staff Sergeant Bernard Eldon Snow of Santa Barbara, CA, served as a B-17 Ball Turret Gunner with the 305th Bomber Group. His B-17, “Mr. Jones,” was shot down by a German fighter near Hoorn, Holland and he spent the rest of the war in a German P.O.W. camp, Stalag 17-B. His medal was discovered in a California jewelry shop and will be reunited with his daughter, Mrs. Rebecca Crofts from Superior, WI.
WWII – Army Private Dan Lyle Feragen of Carlyle, MT, served with the 7th Infantry Division. He survived the infamous Bataan Death March in the Philippines, but died inside a P.O.W. camp due to mistreatment by his captors. Receiving his medal for the first time will be his nephew and namesake, Lyle Feragen.
Korea – Marine Corps PFC Jack Carl Kighlinger of Franklin, PA, served with the 1st Marine Division. PFC Kighlinger was killed in action in fighting near South Korea’s Soyang River. His medal was found in the 1970s by U.S. Army Veteran Staff Sergeant Kevin Coady, who has been searching for the family ever since. He will return Jack’s medal to his great-niece, Mrs. Bernadine Ridgeway of Marysville, CA.
Vietnam – Army PFC Andrew Thomas Calhoun served as an Infantryman with the 173rd Airborne Division. PFC Calhoun was wounded in action and later worked as a Chesapeake Police Officer in the SWAT division. He was unfortunately killed on duty when his aircraft crashed into a lake. His medals were recently discovered in Arizona and will be returned to his son, Mr. Calhoun of Chesapeake, VA.
Iraq – Army PFC Daniel Swift, a New York City firefighter and reservist who served as a Combat Medic with the “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment. Following an explosion impacting the armored Humvee carrying him and several other soldiers, Daniel quickly rushed to save the life of one of his comrades also injured in the incident. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart, and will be presented with a full set of his medals at the ceremony.
Full details on the Purple Heart veterans being reunited with their medals can be viewed at https://purpleheartsreunited.org/returned-hearts/eight-on-seven/.
A fundraising benefit will be held at Fraunces Tavern following the event, where members of the community will be able to meet these families, learn more about the participating organizations and support the safe journey home of several more Purple Hearts that will be on display.
An estimated 1.8 Million Purple Hearts have been awarded in our nation’s history. Today, in addition to being awarded to those who fight overseas, the Purple Heart is also given to military personnel who display bravery and valor as prisoners of war and while fighting certain types of domestic terrorism.
About United War Veterans Council
The United War Veterans Council, Inc. (UWVC) is a 501-(c) (19) non-profit organization that honors and supports veterans and their families through advocacy, services, and sustainability programs. We produce the NYC Veterans Day Parade, the largest commemoration of service in the nation. Since our inception, the UWVC has been a non-political, non-partisan organization, with no agenda or purpose other than convening and mobilizing diverse communities to ensure government, the private sector, and the general public expand their support for veterans and their families. We represent the mosaic of the veterans’ community, encompassing veterans of all eras and backgrounds. www.uwvc.org / FB / Twitter