In honor of Memorial Day 2015, the nonprofit organization Purple Hearts Reunited conducted a public ceremony for WWI veteran PVT Daniel William Quinlan on Friday, 22 May 2015. The ceremony took place at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor (NPHHOH) in New Windsor, NY.

Daniel William Quinlan was born on 04 November 1896 in East Fishkill, NY, the son of Daniel and Ellen Quinlan. He enlisted in the US. Army on 28 September 1917 and served with the 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division (SN 16987448). Quinlan was wounded by Quinlan PH 1gas at the Vesle River, France, in August of 1918, and discharged on 09 May 1919. PVT Quinlan was awarded a Purple Heart, as well as a WWI Victory Medal and Silver Star. The official citation for the Silver Star, awarded “for extraordinary heroism in action,” recounts that “without regard for his personal safety and while the company to which he was attached was under heavy fire, [PVT Quinlan] went about helping [care for] wounded men and continued this work after his comrade had been killed. In so doing he exhibited the highest type of courage, devotion to duty and to his comrades saving many lives that day.” Quinlan was one of the first of 138 WWI veterans who received a Purple Heart on 28 May 1932 in Newburgh, NY (now the site of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor). The inscribed serial number, #1802, is the lowest number seen or heard of by Purple Hearts Reunited.

Quinlan PH2PVT Quinlan died in a tragic car accident on 30 August 1938. According to a 1938 story in the Pawling News Chronicle (NY), he “was traveling homeward after finishing work for the day at Sylvan Lake, when his car mysteriously ran off the highway and overturned.” He left behind a widow, Kathleen Gilligan Quinlan, and two children, Mary Ann and John Daniel Quinlan. The Purple Heart medal was found by Joseph Hardy in Poughquag, NY, approximately 30 miles from the NPHHOH, where the medal was issued. Hardy sent the medal to Purple Hearts Reunited with a note, “We found this Purple Heart in the attic of my in-laws’ house 20 years ago. We have tried to find the owner with no luck.” Purple Hearts Reunited was able to identify the service records and PVT Quinlan’s family, and mailed the medal to Quinlan’s grandson, William Quinlan of Key West, FL, after the 22 May ceremony.

Speakers at Friday’s ceremony included Captain Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited; Peter Bedrossian, NPHHOH Program Director; Mr. Malarkey from the Catholic War Veterans; Richard Gerbeth, MOPH Dept. of NY Jr. Vice Commander; and Carol Deacon of the organization Semper Fi Parents of Hudson Valley. From the Hall, participants drove to attend a small graveside ceremony at Saint Denis Cemetery in Hopewell Junction, NY. The long-lost Purple Heart medal was displayed to the public, then returned to PVT Quinlan’s family.

This return was made possible by a grant from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, as well as financial sponsorship from the Semper Fi Parents of Hudson Valley.

Read more about this return ceremony:
Associated Press >> WWI Hero’s Lost Purple Heart is Being Returned