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Stolen Purple Heart to Be Returned to Recipient’s Family in Rochester


VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System is hosting a ceremony Wednesday morning to reunite the family of 1st Lieutenant Herbert W. Stanford with his stolen purple heart.

1st Lieutenant Stanford’s purple heart was stolen during a robbery. The family lost a significant piece of their family history and a tribute to their loved one who died during World War II in 1944. The family knew little about 1st Lieutenant Stanford’s death, until 1999, when a French woman shared her story about what she witnessed the day of his death. According to the French woman, she watched 1st Lieutenant Stanford and his fellow airman participate in a dog fight in which he was subsequently gunned down, with German Forces stripping his body of any identifiers and dragging it to the gates of the local cemetery.

Recently, the Orleans County Sheriff came across a purple heart that was recovered from a robbery, with no name, just a number, and no lead. The sheriff’s office contacted VA Finger Lakes Police Chief Scribner, who assigned an investigator ultimately identifying the owner of the Purple Heart.

THe VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System Police and the Orleans County Sheriff will reunite 1st Lieutenant Herbert Stanford’s family with the missing Purple Heart on Wednesday morning at 10 at the Rochester Calkins VA Clinic

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