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Monrovia Police Reunites World War I Medals With Recipient's Family

While working in the Monrovia Police Department Property and Evidence Room, Property Officer Tom Carroll came across a box of unclaimed property from years past, containing, among other personal possessions, military medals from the United States Army, including a "Purple Heart" from World War I. The Purple Heart had been awarded retroactively in 1935 to Frank Q. Newton, who had been injured in 1919 while serving on the front lines, nearly 100 years ago.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to members of the United States Military and is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed while serving. Property Officer Tom Carroll, a United States Army veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart himself, immediately recognized the box that contained the medal and felt the importance of reuniting this military decoration with the family of the recipient.

Initially, he contacted the Purple Heart Foundation, the repository for information on Purple Heart recipients. Unfortunately, this attempt met with no success, as the foundation has only been in existence for just over fifty years. Tom then began searching law enforcement databases, but again, was unsuccessful. He then sought assistance from the Police Department's Technology Bureau Supervisor, Jim Emett, who began searching through public genealogical databases for information. He entered the name and army unit of Frank Q. Newton, searching his military records, and eventually was able to positively identify him, which ultimately led to identifying his living relatives.

Subsequent searches in law enforcement databases and contacting two other outside agencies finally revealed the recipient's family currently resides in Northern California. The family knew the story of their father receiving the Purple Heart, but had no idea his medals still existed, and they were amazed and grateful when they learned the medals would be returned to them. Property Officer Tom Carroll had the medals mounted in a shadow box for the family, and the medals were hand delivered to the family at the Los Angeles International Airport on July 23, 2013.

Frank Q. Newton served as a frontline Ambulance Wagoner in the European Theater during the First World War. He was severely injured from exposure to mustard gas while serving on the front lines for the United States Army. He died in 1975 in San Diego, California.

Source: Monrovia Police press release

- Brad Haugaard

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