Purple Heart discovered at flea market traced back to Nebraska

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LINCOLN, NE A Purple Heart belonging to a Nebraska World War II veteran killed in battle was discovered at a flea market in Missouri, but has now made its way back to where it belongs.

According to staff at the Museum of Missouri Military History, a woman discovered it at a local flea market and knew the medal did not belong there.

"I think they said they paid about 4 to 5 dollars for it," said Charles Machon with the museum.

The medal was awarded to 22-year-old Ralph Greeley from Stapleton, NE. When the museum in Missouri was able to make the Nebraska connection, they sent it to the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward.

Sgt. Greeley was a member of the Nebraska National Guard, who was called into service one year before the start of World War II by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Greeley was embedded with D Company of the 134th Infantry in North Platte. Military records show Sgt. Greeley was killed in France in 1944 where he earned the military's second highest honor, along with a Purple Heart.

A post from 1011 News on Facebook asking for any tips on the family's whereabouts went viral. Within two hours, the post had thousands of shares. A woman named Norma Greeley from Hershey, NE reached out and said her husband was the nephew of Sgt. Ralph Greeley and that there were other living relatives in Nebraska.

A few days later, three of Ralph's nephews made the trip out to the Nebraska National Gaurd Museum in Seward. They confirmed that Ralph had married in California, but to their knowledge, the two never had any children together. They believe she was the last relative to have possession of the medal.

"Just unbelief how it could have gotten from California to Missouri," said Dave Greeley, one of Ralph's nephews.

The family has decided to donate the medal to the Nebraska National Guard Museum in Seward so that their uncle's story can be shared with those who visit.