Purple Heart returned to hometown of WWII Veteran

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
An obituary dated Oct. 13, 1945, reads that Crabbe, a technical sergeant and member of the B-24 Liberator, was killed in action. He grew up in Rockville Centre, New York, and died in Germany, but his Purple Heart somehow ended up in North Fort Myers.

WINK News first introduced you to Brenda Carlson, and the Purple Heart she found, last month. That Purple Heart has since been put into some very special hands and Carlson couldn’t be prouder.

Carlson contacted WINK in July in hopes that we’d be able to find the family of Charles W. Crabbe. While she didn’t find his family, dozens of viewers reached out because they wanted to help.

After all, as a country, it is our responsibility to remember those who have died for our country and the freedoms we have. That’s why it was so important to Brenda to make sure that World War II veteran Charles W. Crabbe never be forgotten.

“This purple heart was discovered in a piece of furniture. Bought at an estate sale,” Carlson said.

Retired Colonel Russ Vernon is the Executive Director of the National Purple Heart Honor Mission. “You know, The Purple Heart is the one medal that no one wants to receive. But it’s the one that people are most proud of,” said Vernon.

The medal is one of the highest military honors that is given to those who were wounded or killed in action.

“All gave some. Some gave all,” Vernon said.

The Purple Heart engraved with Crabbe’s name was given to Carlson over a decade ago, by a friend, in North Fort Myers.

Crabbe was a Technical Sergeant who was killed in action in 1945. It was discovered that his hometown was in Rockville Center, located in Long Island, New York.

“People reached out from all over the country to help us find the rightful family. The end result was that he was an only child and when his father passed away, the mother widowed moved to the Orlando area,” Carlson said. 

After determining that Crabbe had no immediate family, Carlson was connected to Vernon’s organization. When they heard the story, they flew her to Rockville Center. There, she could tell that story and return the Purple Heart to Crabbe’s hometown.

“I know she is comforted to know that that medal has finally been put in the right hands,” said Vernon.

Russ Vernon say his organization plans to showcase the Purple Heart in a moving “Wall of Honor.” The organization is also in the process of creating a traveling nationwide tribute and education center for those who have earned the medal. All of this so our heroes wil not be forgotten.

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