(CBS) — A 67-year-old Vietnam veteran who has been searching for his military medals for more than a decade has now gotten them back from the Illinois state treasurer’s office, where they were “unclaimed property.”
Veteran Harold Walker had received the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Service Medal and the National Defense Medal.
“They were in a safe deposit box with his mother’s name, Mr. Walker’s name as well,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs explains.
“Unfortunately, he had moved to Mississippi at the time. His mother had passed away and we didn’t have a last-known address. When he finally reached out to the bank about this, they had closed. They had sold off. They couldn’t give him a direction.”
Walker’s three medals are among about 100 military medals the treasurer’s office has been holding as unclaimed property.
Frerichs’ office located Mr. Walker, and he drove 11 hours from Mississippi to get his medals back.
Walker’s eyes filled with tears on Wednesday, during a news conference to announce the reunion.
“You can’t explain it. There’s no explaining what the medals mean to me — really, for my family,” he said.
Walker says he’ll give the medals to his 36-year-old son.
For more information about the treasurer’s unclaimed property program, click here.