Illinois trying to identify owners of 11 abandoned Purple Heart medals

Once, these Purple Hearts were presented in honor. Now, they lie abandoned in a State of Illinois vault.

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced a new effort on Tuesday to return 11 abandoned Puple Heart medals to the veterans who received them, or their families.

"These medals personify honor, sacrifice and duty. They belong in the loving care of a family rather than hidden in a cold vault in our basement," Frerichs said. "We hope that attention to the upcoming Veterans Day celebrations will spark a memory and provide a clue so these medals can be returned."

The 11 Purple Heart medals were held in 11 different banks in Channahon, Chicago, Darien, Decatur, Homewood, Oak Park, O’Fallon, Peoria, Round Lake and Portland, Oregon. 

Frerichs said that members of the public might believe that the U.S. Government and U.S. Armed Forces keep exacting lists of Purple Heart awardees, but that is not the case.

He warned that anyone who tries to pretend to be a veteran, or a veteran's family member, to get their hands on a Purple Heart will be prosecuted.