ALBANY, N.Y. – A National Guard soldier's ongoing campaign to return lost Purple Heart medals to veterans or their families is taking him back to northern New York where his effort began five years ago.
Capt. Zachariah Fike, founder of Vermont-based Purple Hearts Reunited, is presenting the recovered Purple Hearts of two World War I soldiers during a Friday morning ceremony at the Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown.
Army Cpl. Ernest Wright of Watertown, who died in 1956, received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in France in 1918. The historical society is getting his medal.
Pvt. William Withington of nearby Adams died in combat in France the same year. A great-niece is receiving his medal.
Fike grew up near Watertown. He started his organization in 2011 after returning a lost Purple Heart to the family of a Watertown soldier killed during World War II.