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Arkansas Goodwill working to return Purple Heart, military medals to owner

A box full of military medals, including a Purple Heart, was donated to a Hot Springs Goodwill. Now, the store is making sure the valuable items are returned.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — People donate a lot of things to their local Goodwill, but a Hot Springs store recently received something unusual.

A box full of valuable military medals, including a purple heart with the photo of a young army soldier from what looks like a deployment overseas in the middle east.

There isn't a date or name on any of them, but one of the medals was issued to a member of the 28th Transportation Battalion. 

According to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, they often get donations they think are donated by mistake. You can't put a price on personal possessions. They posted about the items on Facebook: 

Some army medals, including a purple heart, were donated this past week to our Hot Springs store. There's no name or...

Posted by Goodwill Industries of Arkansas on Monday, December 6, 2021

"My thoughts are is that this person, there's a possibility that this person is local. Otherwise it wouldn't be at the Goodwill Store," said Stephen Ezelle, a veteran representative for the state. "If I had probably a more visible picture of the photo, it's tracible. Because on the uniform if there's a way we could see it, it'd have his name on the uniform." 

The soldier's vest is covering up his full name, but the letters C-O-F-F can be made out across his uniform. 

Ezelle mapped out what each medal would mean for the serviceman and said a good place to start would be the local Army Reserves.

The medals were: A Purple Heart, Armed Forces Service medal, Army Commendation medal, a Global War on Terrorism medal and an Iraq Campaign medal.

We reached out to Army Reserves in Hot Springs, who said they didn't recognize the solider. They pointed out that the ribbon medals could be easily purchased on the internet, but what sticks out are two 'challenge' coins and the Purple Heart that appears to be in an official box.

"We call them challenge coins. Challenge coins are those that they've done above and beyond the call of duty," said Zelle, "They can probably, if you've got that name, maybe get access to the database and find out where he is."

There was a 28th Transportation Battalion coin and an Army National Guard coin.

Goodwill would love to return the items to the family.

If you have any information on who these may belong to, or their family, please contact Goodwill Industries of Arkansas on their Facebook page.

You may also reach out to the two Goodwill locations in Hot Springs at 501-321-0275 or 501-525-4473.


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