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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Boston, MA - July 19, 2013

Long Lost Purple Heart Finally Comes Home for WWII Hero

On 2:00PM on Thursday, August 1, 2012 the public is invited to join Patriot members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Purple Hearts Reunited, family and friends as they gather at the Glenwood Cemetery in Chelsea to honor TSGT Everett Lawrence MacDonald, a special WWII airman who gave his life in the name of Freedom on 13 September 1944. 

While on their 50th and last mission, TSGT Everett Lawrence MacDonald and other crew members on "Hell’s Angel", a B-24 Bomber aircraft assigned to the 831st Bomber Squadron, 485th Bomber Group, took a direct hit from German ground artillery fire which killed TSGT MacDonald instantly.  Only one of the remaining crew was able to escape the plane, which crashed over Auschwitz, Poland.  The villagers of Auschwitz buried the dead Americans and, even though verbally abused and threatened by German soldiers, decorated those graves with wreaths daily. The local citizens marked the grave with a wooden cross and a small fence in appreciation of the American's sacrifice.

Before leaving for the war, Everett married a woman who had children from a previous marriage.  After news of her husband’s death and tragic funeral, she held onto his medals all her life.  It wasn’t until 1999 after she passed, that her son Walter Reitz found the medals amongst her belongings.  Through another family member, Purple Hearts Reunited was contacted to assist with the search.

For TSGT MacDonald’s service to our country, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.  Everett’s medals will be returned to his brother Clide MacDonald's son at a public ceremony at graveside at the Glenwood Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts at 2p.m. In attendance will be members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Everett’s family, and Army Captain Zachariah Fike from Purple Hearts Reunited.  Everett’s grave can be found in the VFW Lot, Grave 22 at the Glenwood Cemetery, located at 199 Washington Avenue, Chelsea, MA 02150. Signs will be present the day of the ceremony for directions.

This ceremony is made possible through the selfless efforts of CPT Zachariah Fike, an active duty member of the Vermont National Guard, who started “Purple Hearts Reunited” two years ago.  CPT Fike purchases or receives lost or stolen Purple Heart medals and locates the closest family member so that he can return the medal to them.  If no living relative can be located or they do not want the medal, he will find an acceptable repository for the medal, such as a museum.

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, through veteran service, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  Through the VAVS Program, MOPH volunteers selflessly provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA medical facilities and State Veterans Homes.

For further information please contact:
Purple Hearts Reunited, 315-523-3609 or purpleheartsreunited@gmail.com.

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