Purple Heart medal discovered at Goodwill in Arizona, prompting search for family

Of the items that end up being donated to Goodwill, one particular find in a box at a store in southern Arizona has sparked a nationwide search.

Officials at Goodwill of Southern Arizona said Monday they are looking for the family of a Purple Heart recipient after a medal was donated to a store in Tucson last month.

“People give away amazing stuff," employee Talon Mills told KOLD News 13. "It just blows my mind what people give away.”

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The Purple Heart was found in a box of housewares at the Goodwill location on Houghton and Golf Links Road, located on the eastern part of Tucson.

In photos posted by Goodwill, the back of the medal has the carving with the name "Nick D'Amelio, Jr." under the words "For Military Merit."

Mills said it was discovered in a faded box and prompted more questions.

“Did the recipient of the medal give it away?," he told KOLD. "Did their family, not knowing it was in the box?”

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According to military records, D'Amelio was originally from California and a seaman second class who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

He was listed as missing in action when the U.S.S. Little sank off the Solomon Islands on Sept. 5, 1942.

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The destroyer on which D'Amelio served was attacked off the coast of Guadalcanal a year earlier, according to KOLD. He later was awarded a Purple Heart.

This is not the first time a Purple Heart medal has been discovered at a Goodwill store in Arizona. In 2016, a medal was discovered at a Goodwill Store in Mesa after being left inside a box that was donated, KTVU reported at the time.

Anyone with information on where D'Amelio's relatives may be is asked to contact Goodwill of Southern Arizona by calling (520) 623-5174, extension 7039.