Purple Heart, missing for years, returned to family of local WWII veteran

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The children of James Arrowood still don't exactly know how it got misplaced, but a Purple Heart he received while fighting during World War II is now back in their hands after a trip that took it all the way across the country.

"My dad wanted to join the service at 17, and his dad would not let him," said Nancy Arrowood.  "When he turned 18, my dad signed up."

Arrowood served in Europe during the war.

"He was captured by the Germans. He and a Frenchman escaped that night and crawled for miles and miles at night until they found another American unit," said Arrowood.

The war cost PFC James Arrowood a number of his toes, and he received an honorable discharge and a Purple Heart. It's believed that same Purple Heart is the one being returned to the family.

The organization responsible for the reunion, Purple Hearts Reunited, said they received the medal from a man in Indiana, who reported finding it at a flea market in Nebraska.

Arrowood received a duplicate Purple Heart to replace the original. He died in 2015.

Asked if they knew the story behind the medal, Purple Hearts Reunited representative Jessica Jaggars said that journey may never be known.

"Sometimes we never find out," said Jaggars.  "There's a story to every medal, and every story is unique."

Jaggars said she has several other medals to reunite with other families later this week, including two in the Charlotte area.