A family has been reunited with their father’s Purple Heart more than three decades after he died, all thanks to one woman.
While volunteering at a thrift store in Phoenix, Arizona, Teresa Ferrin found the Purple Heart — along with several other military awards.
Ferrin explained that her job involves pricing the donated items before they go on the floor.
According to Ferrin, nearly two weeks ago, someone dropped off the military awards, making sure to point out the Purple Heart amongst the collection.
After inspecting the medal, she discovered a name on the back.
Now, she knew she had to solve the mystery.
“I just felt it needed to go to the family, and I was going to try to find the family,” Ferrin told Fox News.
After close examination, Ferrin deciphered the name: Erik Karl Blauberg.
Arizona Good Samaritan Returns Lost Purple Heart
After more research and phone calls, Ferrin learned that Blauberg had lived close by when he died in 1988.
Luckily, Ferrin contacted a few of Blauberg’s eight children, including Lisa Walker, who lives in Florida.
According to Walker, her father left when she was young, leaving her mother to care for all eight children alone.
“They were estranged from him,” Ferrin explained. “They knew who he was, they talked to him occasionally, but they didn’t really know him very well.”
Walker described the gesture as “bittersweet” since he didn’t leave his family with much when he died.
“This is one of the only things that we have [of his],” Walker said. “I’m very grateful to Teresa.”
Walker added that her family was surprised to learn that their father had an impressive military carer.
“We didn’t even know he had a Purple Heart,” Walker said. “I knew — and my brothers knew — that he had medals, but we didn’t know he had a Purple Heart, so that was very shocking.”
Walker said she’s grateful for Ferrin, saying, “I can’t believe someone went above and beyond like Teresa did, and didn’t give up to find us.”
For Ferrin, she said she couldn’t have done anything as her own father had also served in the Korean War.
“I thought, if it was my father’s, I’d certainly want someone to return it to me,” Ferrin said. “I just felt the family needed to have that.”