A Purple Heart Medal missing for decades was returned to the family of its rightful owner Saturday.
A Rowan County woman is one of the last surviving family members of world war two Purple Heart Recipient, Olin White.
White was just 19-years-old when he was killed serving in the Navy during World War II. He was stationed on the USS MacKenzie, when he and his crew took a direct hit. The medal he received after that battle is still in pristine condition today.
His niece and one of the last surviving relatives, Lynn Polasit, said she never even knew her uncle was a hero.
"Shock....yeah shock," she said. Polasit said she owes it to the work of four members of the Military Order Of The Purple Heart in Jacksonville, N.C., including Staff Sgt. Daniel Stoy, still an active duty marine, and three-time Purple Heart recipient himself.
"I pretty much put my hand up and said I wanted to do the research to find out who it belonged to," said Stoy. He said the chapter was contacted by a woman who came across the medal buried in box at a Jacksonville garage sale. He didn't hesitate to take on the challenge of finding its rightful owners.
"I was crying because the honor it is to have it in my hands, to have had it in my house, so we could deliver it back here," said Stoy.
After two weeks of research, a four hour road trip, and one flat tire later, Stoy put the almost 70-year-old medal in the hands of white's niece. He said it was a bigger honor than receiving his own Purple Hearts.
"This to me is more honorable than anything else," he said.
For Polasit, she said she's just grateful.
White died, along with nearly 200 other sailors, when the USS Drexler sank. His body was never recovered.