After Almost 70 Years, Hoosier Veteran Given Purple Heart He Never Received

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After Almost 70 Years, Hoosier Veteran Given Purple Heart He Never Received

Paul Lucas was awarded the Purple Heart after getting hit by shrapnel in Korea, but didn't receive the award until earlier this week.

BRAZIL, Ind.-- An Indiana man who never received the Purple Heart he earned in Korea was presented with his medal on Monday at the Clay County courthouse.

Retired Army Sgt. Paul Lucas of Poland, Ind., was hit by shrapnel while serving in the Korean conflict and spent three months in the hospital before returning home.

Lucas was awarded the Purple Heart but never received the medal.

Two months ago, he contacted Sen. Todd Young's office to see if there was anything the senator could do to help.

Members of Sen. Young’s staff looked into his records and found that he had earned several other medals in addition to the Purple Heart. 

Sen. Young on Monday presented Lucas with the Purple Heart as well as the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with two bronze service stars, Combat Infantry Badge (1st Award) and United Nation Service Medals.

"One of the best parts of my job is ensuring veterans, like Mr. Lucas, receive the recognition they have earned, especially when it’s such a long time coming," said Sen. Young. "Helping veterans and their families track down their military service medals is one of the many services I am proud to provide constituents, and I’m thrilled I was able to present Mr. Lucas with his medals today."

The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services on or after April 5, 1917. 

118,650 Purple Heart medals were given during the Korean conflict, according to a 2009 estimate by National Geographic. (Source: "History: Purple Hearts". National Geographic(November 2008): 33.)

(Photo by Sen. Todd Young.)

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