Ocala, Florida — Purple Hearts Reunited, a small nonprofit organization, returned a misplaced Purple Heart medal to the daughter of World War II veteran PVT Jack Elmo Martin late last month. Martin’s medal ended up with distant family members in Arizona after his death, but a genealogical search revealed much closer family, and the foundation was asked to assist in getting the Purple Heart home.
The medal was sent to PVT Martin’s daughter, Ann M. Moore, of Ocala, Florida, at the end of February.
Jack Elmo Martin was born on June 26, 1919, in North Carolina. He enlisted in the Army on April 24, 1944, and served in World War II with the 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, known as “Hell on Wheels.” The 67th Armored Regiment saw action at Algeria-French Morocco, Sicily, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. It is unknown when and where Martin was wounded, but he earned a Purple Heart for his sacrifice.
PVT Martin lived through the war and settled in Ocala, Florida, where he passed away on August 20, 1978. In addition to the Purple Heart PVT Martin received, he was also awarded the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation. Martin also had a son, Robert Martin, who was presented with his flag at the funeral.
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After the war, PVT Martin handed his Purple Heart medal to his father, Walter Clarence “Bob” Martin. Bob Martin remarried (Berdena Frazier Martin of Florida) and when Berdena passed away, her son, Cecil Frazier, found the Purple Heart among her belongings. While it had never left the family, Cecil and Margaret Frazier of Scottsdale, Arizona, knew the medal could be with a more immediate relative, and reached out to Purple Hearts Reunited for help.
Purple Hearts Reunited accepted the treasured medal and created a frame with a commemorative plaque and photograph of PVT Martin in uniform. The framed Purple Heart medal was then sent directly to PVT Martin’s daughter.
Purple Hearts Reunited (www.purpleheartsreunited.org) was founded in 2012 by a combat-wounded veteran. The organization’s mission is to return lost or stolen military medals of valor to veterans or their families in order to honor their sacrifice to the nation. The organization is funded solely by donations and has returned medals to well over 100 military families and museums to date.