Veterans
3:30 am
Sun November 10, 2013

PA Treasury Department to Return Forgotten War Medals

The Pennsylvania Treasury Department wants military veterans or their heirs to get the military medals they rightfully deserve.

The Treasury is trying to return some of the 300 military medals the department has acquired over the years.

In conjunction with Veterans Day, State Treasurer Rob McCord is urging his Return Team to renew their efforts in finding the rightful owners or heirs to unclaimed war medals.

According to Elizabeth Foose, a spokeswoman for the State Treasury, the department is legally responsible for Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property program, and many tangible items, like war medals, make their way to the Treasury from forgotten safe deposit boxes. Most of the time, these items don’t come with any ownership information.

If you’re thinking the Return Team has an uphill battle ahead of them — you’re right.

Foose said the team is working with updated databases, but sometimes that isn’t enough.

“In some of these cases we do not have a lot of information on some of these medals,” she said. “In some cases they were turned over without identifying owner information. So we are behind the 8-ball on some of these.”

The Treasury is holding onto a variety of medals, including purple hearts and medals of valor.

So far, Foose said the department has only been able to track down handful of owners.

“We will hopefully have more success to report in the near future, but right now it’s kind of a beginning effort that we’ve put a renewed focus on.”

Pennsylvania ranks fifth in number of veterans.

The treasurer is also asking his team to identify any unclaimed financial assets belonging to veteran organizations or families with military addresses. The Treasury is currently holding about $52,500 belonging to veteran organizations and more than $13,500 belonging to military addresses.

That’s a sliver of the $2.2 billion in unclaimed property to Treasury is working to return.

The department is urging everyone to search the Treasury’s online unclaimed property database.