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Korea veteran’s Purple Heart turns up in thrift store, finds its way home

The New York Daily News - 3/2/2021

A Purple Heart awarded to a veteran of the Korean War turned-up in a Phoenix thrift store, where shop volunteer Teresa Ferrin, whose father also fought in that war, made it her mission to return it to its rightful owner.

CNN reports that Ferrin isn’t sure how the Purple Heart wound-up at the Christian Family thrift store, but it was emblazoned with the name Erik Karl Blauberg — the soldier who’d earned it.

Ferrin got online and found Blauberg had died in 1988, then located his grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. From there, she was directed to a crematorium that had reportedly seen to the war hero’s remains.

The determined thrift shop volunteer was able to contact two of the soldier’s eight children, including his daughter Lisa Walker. Though Blauberg was estranged from his children for years, CNN reports that he had gotten in contact with them toward the end of his life.

“I couldn’t thank Teresa enough for this,” said Walker, who lives in Florida.

She told The Insider her family wasn’t even aware their patriarch was a Purple Heart recipient.

Blauberg had left his possessions to his doctor, leaving his offspring with no memorabilia from his 57 years on Earth. It’s unclear how Blauberg earned his Purple Heart. The honor is given to men and women wounded or killed in combat. says there is no comprehensive list of recipients.


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