Lost Purple Heart Returned to Family of Franklin Native

| August 10, 2017

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – The family of a Franklin native recently received the Purple Heart medal he earned after being killed in the Korean War.

(Pictured above: Pfc. Jack Carl Kightlinger, left, and his best friend Floyd Swift. Photos courtesy Purple Hearts Reunited.)

According to an article on militarytimes.com, the story of Pfc. Jack Carl Kightlinger dates back more than half a century.

Kightlinger was born in Franklin on August 2, 1928. His family moved to northern California when he was a teenager.

Kightlinger enlisted in the U.S. Marines on July 16, 1950, and was shipped out to Korea in November of 1950.

He served in the Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

According to news reports at the time, Kightlinger was killed on May 29, 1951, during combat operations in a drive to Yanggu near the Soyand River.

Two decades later, Staff Sgt. Kevin Coady discovered the Purple Heart and had been working for decades to give it to the rightful recipient.

On Monday, Coady’s efforts became a reality when he, along with help from Purple Hearts Reunited, presented the medal to the daughter of Kightlinger’s niece, Bernadine L. Ridgeway, of Marysville, California.

The ceremony took place on Monday on National Purple Heart Day at Federal Hall in New York City, where George Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president on April 30, 1789.

The first Purple Heart was created by Washington when he commanded the army serving the colonies that became the United States.

Purple Hearts Reunited, based in Georgia, Vermont, helped return seven other medals to military families.

Purple Hearts Reunited is a nonprofit foundation that returns medals of valor to veterans or their families in order to honor their sacrifice to the nation. Since its beginning, the organization has returned more than 350 lost medals, traveled more than 100,000 miles, visited more than 42 states, and has directly affected the lives of 100,000 people.

The foundation returns medals of valor to veterans or to their families at no cost to the veteran or his/her family.

To learn more about Purple Hearts Reunited, visit its website here.

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