Arizona Goodwill searching for family of World War II sailor after finding his Purple Heart
A Goodwill in Arizona is searching for the family of a Purple Heart recipient after the military decoration was discovered in the thrift store's donation box last month.
The medal, engraved with the name "Nick D'Amelio, Jr." and "S2C, USN," was found mid-June by a store associate sifting through recently donated items at the organization's Tucson facility, CNN reports.
"People give away amazing stuff," Nick Mills, who discovered the medal, told KOLD. "It just blows my mind what people give away."
Military records show D'Amelio was a seaman second class who served in the U.S. Navy and went missing in action on Sept. 5, 1942, when the USS Little sank off the Solomon Islands during WWII. One year later, D'Amelio was declared dead. His Purple Heart was awarded posthumously to his relatives.
"It's important that we get it to the right family," Judith Roman Bucasas, director of marketing of Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona, told CNN. "This guy didn't get to make it back home."
The Purple Heart medal is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who are wounded in combat or to the next of kin of those killed in action or those who die of wounds received in action. It was first instituted by George Washington in 1782 and remains one of the nation's oldest and most respected military awards.
The Goodwill of Southern Arizona asks anyone with information on D'Amelio's family to call 520-623-5174, extension 7039.
In March 2016, a Purple Heart discovered at a Goodwill store in Mesa, Ariz., was successfully reunited with the recipient's relatives, KTVU reported.
Laura Hary and her husband purchased the medal for a bargain price and later took to Facebook to locate family members of the veteran, identified as Eual Whiteman.
"Looking for the family of Eual H. Whiteman. Deceased in nineteen ninety one," she wrote at the time. "What a shame to find it at Goodwill for $4.99."
Hary's post was shared a whopping 1.4 million times and eventually helped her locate the veteran's next of kin, who believed the Purple Heart likely ended up at Goodwill after being left inside a box Whiteman's nephew donated to the charity.