Lost: Unknown Found: 2012 Returned: 03 April 2013 Location: Fredricksburg, TX
Purple Heart Medal for WWII Hero Finds a Home at the National Museum of the Pacific War
On April 3, 2013, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Texas, Purple Hearts Reunited, Inc., and the Admiral Nimitz Foundation held a joint ceremony at the National Museum of the Pacific War, 310 East Austin St., Fredericksburg, Texas, to honor a hero who died in WWII and whose Purple Heart was subsequently lost or stolen. His Purple Heart medal was donated to the museum by Captain Zachariah Fike, founder of Purple Hearts Reunited.
The medal for Seaman 1st Class Orville E. Kimball, a native American from Oso, Snohomish, Washington, was found in the effects of a member of the Washington State Fleet Reserve Association after his death in 2012. It was given to Mrs. Lois Knox, the widow of a WWII Navy Veteran, in hopes that she might be able to locate the original owner. Enlisting the assistance of her grandson, Mr. Jason Linn, they tried unsuccessfully to locate Kimball until Jason read about Purple Hearts Reunited in an MSNBC article and they contacted CPT Zachariah Fike. Fike discovered that Kimball was one of many who had been killed in action together on 12 May 1945 and were later interred at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The exact circumstances of Seaman Kimball’s death are unknown, but in an act of true patriotism, Mr Linn made his way to Kimball’s gravesite in Hawaii in order to reunite the Purple Heart with Seaman Kimball’s grave before donating the medal to Purple Hearts Reunited. Because Kimball never married and had no living descendents or siblings, it was decided that the National Museum of the Pacific War would be a fitting depository to honor Seaman Orville Kimball and his Purple Heart Medal. As Jason Linn would write, “Orville Kimball you are not forgotten. We remember you and honor you on the altar of freedom. May you be smiling down and your soul be free.”