Purple Heart returned home after 70 years - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Purple Heart returned home after 70 years


SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- A veteran finds a Purple Heart medal at a garage sale and discovered it had been missing for nearly seventy years.

15 years ago, Sgt. Alan Foss, who served in Desert Storm, bought a Purple Heart at a Lake Geneva garage sale for just three dollars. He spent years researching the man it belonged to-- Otto Trapp, who died during a World War II bombing mission in 1944.

Trapp served as a radio operator in a B-26 bomber. During a mission his plane crashed off the coast of France and he was reported missing in action. Foss' research revealed a VFW post with Trapp's namesake, in his hometown of Sun Prairie.

Post Commander Ralph Brandenburg and his fellow members were shocked to see the medal nearly seventy years after its original owner had passed away.

"I told him that I wanted my money back. So he said I'll buy you a beer. So he did. We're good (laughs)," says Brandenburg.

Even though the medal had finally found a home, the mission is far from over for Foss. His new goal: to find a family member who can appreciate the priceless artifact.

"I knew it was a chapter in my life that I had to complete," says Foss. "It was one of my goals to find out who I could get this to and put it where it belongs."

Sgt. Foss and the Sun Prairie VFW are hoping to reunite the medal with family members. If left unclaimed they plan to display for members of the community to see.

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