Fitchburg Woman Returns Long-lost Medals to Son of Soldier in Leominster
LEOMINSTER -- The fate of Glenn Reynold’s Purple Heart remained a mystery to his surviving family members until this weekend.
“I actually found it 12 years ago when we were first moving in,” said Larissa McCauliff of Fitchburg. “I was putting some of my stuff into the basement and there was this metal closet filled with cool, old Christmas decorations. I went to look at them and that’s when I found the box.”
The box contained five medals including the Purple Heart awarded to Reynolds, a former U.S. Army corporal, during his military service in World War I nearly 100 years earlier.
“I had no idea who he was so I shut the box immediately,” said McCauliff. “I just put it back where I found it out of respect.”
The box stayed there until just last week, when McCauliff mentioned it to a friend of hers who is a former U.S. Marine.
“He started investigating and was just over the top about all of this,” she said. “He actually tracked the son of this man, got him on the phone, and we were able to have an unbelievable conversation about it.”
Reynold’s son, who asked not to be named in this story, is a 92-year-old veteran currently living in Leominster. Like his father, McCauliff said the son also served as a corporal in the U.S. Army, only during World War II.
As Reynold’s son explained, the house McCauliff now lives in had been the home of his father’s second wife who would have inherited his father’s medals after he passed away.
“He was able to give me details about my own property and how he was the one who put in the linoleum floor that’s actually still in my front room,” she said. “That was when I knew I was giving it to the right person.”
McCauliff was able to return the Purple Heart to Reynolds’ family on Sunday.
“The emotions were flying,” said McCauliff. “He’s wheelchair-bound, but he got up and went over to his kitchen where he had all of his father’s military papers. He said all he ever wanted was to get the medal that went with his father’s paperwork.”
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