Purple Heart back to the second world War soldier’s family in Tennessee

Claude Parris in military uniform (left) and his Purple Heart and other momentos (right).

(Family Photo/Tennessee Department of Treasury)

A missing Purple Heart medal earned more than 70 years ago was returned to the family of a second world War soldier on Friday, with the assistance of the Tennessee officials.

Tennessee State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. ‘ s Office said in a press release, the Purple Heart was one of the two military awards earned by Claude Parris for his service in the second world War.

In 2008, a member of the family placed the medal in a safe deposit box at a bank in the Chattanooga area – and then forget about it, family members said, according to WRCB. The medal was found last fall, and was transferred to the state as unclaimed property.

“The treasury is working every day to protect the financial life of Tennesseans,” Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. said in a statement. “A moment like this takes all of the time, dedication and efforts of the Tennessee department of finance to a personal level, where exactly what we work for every day.”

Freddie Parris received a Purple Heart State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr.

(Tennessee Department of Treasury)

According to his grandson, Parris served on the European front during the war, fighting with the American troops in Paris and Luxembourg, where he lost part of his right leg in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded a Purple Heart medal in the 1940’s.


Grandson Freddie Parris with presenters on Friday the award ceremony.

(Tennessee Department of Treasury)

The reunion was made possible thanks to a state law passed in May 2011 designed to protect military medals for veterans. The Tennessee law identifies a military medal as the only decoration or award that may be presented or awarded to a member of a unit of the army or the National Guard, the Treasury Department of the Unclaimed Property is then responsible for the custody.

The reunion on Friday was the first military medal is returned by the Tennessee Department of Treasury Division of Unclaimed Property since the law went into effect.

“I appreciate the national laws governing the protection of our veterans,” Parris’ grandson, Freddie, said at the ceremony on Friday. “Even though they are gone, they should not be forgotten.”

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed

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