Lost: 1998 Found: 2015 Returned: 8 September 2015 Location: Ossining, NY
On 08 September 2015, at 7:30pm, Purple Hearts Reunited and the Department of New York Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1782 in conjunction with Chapter 21, presented a Purple Heart medal of PVT John R. Clark to the Ossining Town Board Meeting at Ossining Court House 88 Spring St Ossining, NY 10562. Members of the community were present to honor a local hero of World War II.
Private (PVT) John “Jack” Ray Clark Jr. (SN: 081055536) was born 04 March 1915 in Ossining, NY to John Ray and Hazel M. Harte Clark. He would later enlist into the United States Army. He served with 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division (“Red Bull”) and was wounded in battle on 02 February 1943 during the Battle of Sened Station in Tunisia in the North African Campaign. The station was the first clash of arms of an American Division against the Germans in WWII.
Clark’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, WWII Victory Medal, and Combat Infantry Badge.
PVT Clark spent most of his life in Ossining and West Islip, NY with his wife Mildred Clark. He was happiest while out in the ocean deep sea fishing. He worked in corporate real estate before retiring and passed away on 22 December 1998 in Stuart, Florida.
Purple Hearts Reunited was contacted in early June of 2015 by PVT Clark’s nephew Mr. Michael Blechar, who acquired the medal after his uncle’s death. As the last remaining survivor of the family, Mr. Blechar asked for assistance with finding the medal an honorable home. PHR presented the medal to Ossining town supervisor Susanne Donnelly, who then bestowed the medal to the Ossining Historical Society Museum for permanent display.
This medal return ceremony was made possible by a grant from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation.