When World War II ended in 1945, all John J. Martin wanted was to go home.
When Martin finally returned to his home state of Kentucky, his wife, Ruth, began to ask about the military medals he earned during his time in the Army. But Martin never knew or cared to find out.
His wife, however, always wanted the medals even after Martin died in 1965.
Flash-forward to 2017: it’s Ruth’s 96th birthday. Her children had spent the last few years researching the seven medals Martin should have received and tracked them down for their mother.
Ruth’s daughter, Jane Bender, found the location of unclaimed service medals. It turns out that a fire in 1973 burned most of the medal records earned from 1912 to 1959.
However, based on information that Ruth had told her children about their father, the Medal Archives were able to send the family the awards Martin had earned during his service.
At Ruth’s birthday party, her children presented her the medals with a description of how Martin earned each honor.
Ruth teared up as she received the gift and listened as her children recounted their journey to find their father’s missing medals.
Several of Ruth’s grandchildren, including FOX19 NOW photojournalist Dan Wood, were present for the surprise.
Copyright 2017 WXIX. All rights reserved.