Reuniting a Purple Heart with a Family

NEW MILFORD, Pa. -- Sometimes, war veterans ride in Fourth of July parades; some even have streets and buildings named after them.

Pvt. John Bolles of Susquehanna County was not one of those vets, but his family has now been reunited with a war medal that shows a brave sacrifice nearly 70 years ago.

Their dad is Pvt. John Bolles who died in 1996.

In 1950, Bolles was just 17 when he was wounded in combat in Korea and awarded a Purple Heart.

Michael Bolles and his brother have not seen their father's Purple Heart for almost 40 years.

In March, Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella showed us several unclaimed war medals locked in the treasury's basement vault in Harrisburg.

One medal was for John Bolles of Susquehanna County sent to Harrisburg from a safety deposit box from a bank in Scranton 12 years ago as unclaimed property.

Newswatch 16 tracked down Bolles' sons living in New York State, which led to this ceremony in New Milford.

It took place at a monument honoring Lee Canfield who joined the Army with John Bolles and died in combat in Korea.

Bolles' sons believe their father put the Purple Heart in a safety deposit box because it brought back vivid memories of a war he didn't want to remember.

To his family, the medal is a reminder of a teenager's courage, 68 years ago.

"It's a great thing to have back in the family. It shows the dedication that dad had to things he did," said John Bolles Jr., son of Pvt. Bolles.

"Gratitude that it's being returned to us," said son Michael Bolles. "Some disappointment in myself that after I had originally served in the army …that I didn't ever come back and ask him to tell me more, now that we had that bond."

"Awards like that are now a staple of people's lives," said grandson Kyle Bolles. "Being able to display his medals alongside of ours, I'm very proud of that."

Bolles' son Michael will display the Purple Heart at his home in Binghamton, New York with the medals he and his son Kyle earned serving in the army in Afghanistan and the National Guard in New York State.