Family of WWII veteran receives his Purple Heart

FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - The family of a deceased World War II hero received his purple heart after it had been missing for years.

Private First Class Herbert Hackney, a native of Johnson County, Kentucky, was wounded in action in Germany on March 30, 1945, earning a Purple Heart.

Years later, Dana Hackney, Herbert's son, realized he couldn't find his father's Purple Heart. However last year the Kentucky treasurer's office contacted the family to say that they had found Hackney's Purple Heart medal in an unclaimed safety deposit box in the state treasury vault in Frankfort.

"Very, very happy about that, and called my sister and let her know. We were overjoyed to have them back in our possession," said Dana.

Hackney was the first of two families to receive unclaimed military medals last year after Kentucky treasury workers took a walk through the vault of unclaimed property.

"Last spring the treasurer was coming through the vault. He noticed a Purple Heart and thought to himself that we needed to get those back to the individual or the family," said Thomas Scally, Director of Disbursements at the Kentucky State Treasury.

Treasury workers then teamed up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to find the rightful owners of more than 350 items including discharge papers, dog tags and even a purple heart and a bronze star.

"A lot of times the veterans have not talked about what went on for them during the war, and their kids and their grandkids don't know anything about it. And they really want to know. Of course when they get the medals that engenders some conversation," said Ken Lucas, Department of Veteran Affairs.

Dana couldn't be happier to have his father's medal back in his possession to add to his precious collection of his father's other medals and uniform.

"We're kind of reuniting the two. My son has had the uniform for some time and now that we have the medals, we hope to get the medals properly displayed back on the uniform and then framed," said Dana.

If you or someone in your family believes you might have a military item in the vault you can call the Kentucky Treasury Department or search their website.

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