A Nebraska man is getting a memento of his late father from an odd place: A maple tree in Vermont. Robert G. Woody's 1945 Good Conduct Medal, awarded after he served in the Pacific theater throughout World War II, was found stashed in the tree along with assorted other medals, coins, and even a Civil War pay stub. The medal is being returned to the son thanks to the efforts of Purple Hearts Reunited, a nonprofit that works to return service medals to recipients or their families, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.
The organization's founder says medals turn up in strange places on a regular basis, and he suspects the Vermont medals may have been lost or stolen, resold, and then stolen again. "I imagine some kid stole the medals from a vendor, got nervous, and hid them in that tree." This is, however, the first time misplaced medals have turned up in the state. "I have to say, Vermonters are really good at not losing things," he tells the AP. Woody's only son says he still carries a photo of his father in his wallet and will be glad to have one more thing to remember him by. "When my dad passed away, I got an old Timex watch and a few shirts, and that was all," he says. "This would be one of the very few things of his past that I’d have."