SANDPOINT, Idaho -They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and that’s exactly what one Sandpoint woman learned when she found a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and other WWII medals at a yard sale.
Kahla Howard found the medals at an old neighbors moving sale last year, but after a year of trying to find the veteran who earned them, Howard finally took her quest to Facebook.
“What he must have went through to get those medals, I don’t want that to go to waste,” said Howard. “I wanted the family to know that he still had them so they could cherish them.”
The search started when Howard accidentally came across the box of medals she initially thought were empty. But once she opened them, she knew who to begin looking for.
The name Samuel R Grijalva was etched on the back of the medals.
Along with a picture of the Purple Heart, Howard shared this information in her Facebook post. Almost immediately, people started to chime in.
“I’m just glad there’s people out there just like me that care about these things,” said Howard. “And it matters to them that they’re returned to their owner and respected.”
Shortly after the post was shared and commented on dozens of times, someone found Grijalva on Ancestry.com. Howard reached out to the family and finally got in touch with Grijalva’s grandson. Grijalva died in 2001, but the family was excited to hear that a part of him could be returned to them.
“I know I’m the type of person if a million dollars fell on the ground I’d find the owner,” said Howard.
Howard went to the post office with the medals on Tuesday and shipped them to Grijalva’s grandson who lives in New Mexico.
How the medals ended up in Sandpoint is still a mystery, but Howard is just happy they’re back where they belong.