SHARECOMMENTMORE

Creve Coeur, Mo.(KSDK) - This Memorial Day weekend, a woman from St. Louis is being reunited with priceless military medals awarded to her late father for heroic acts in World War II.

We told you last week that a Silver Star and Purple Heart that once belonged to U. S. Marine Sgt. James Joseph McKenzie showed up at a Chesterfield Goodwill store.

According to his Silver Star citation, in 1942 McKenzie helped rescue fellow Marines who were under a Japanese mortar attack on Corregidor Island in the Philippines. The island later fell to the Japanese and McKenzie was held as a prisoner of war for three and a half years.

But the story of how the medals ended up at Goodwill is almost too good to be true.

Sgt. McKenzie passed away in 1979. One of McKenzie's family members made a shadow box with pictures and the medals.

A short time ago Chad and Justine Froelker bought the McKenzie family's Creve Coeur home and everything that was inside. The plan is to completely gut and remodel the interior.

The Froelkers were trying to get the house cleaned out before contractors began demolition.Among piles of junk, McKenzie's shadow box appeared. The Froelkers knew the shadow box had meaning to someone, but they never guessed they were holding a piece of American history.

"I just knew that Goodwill could repurpose the shadow box," said Justine Froelker. "I didn't really even think about the medals. So, I donated it and thank God because it got into the right hands because of that.

After our story aired Sgt. McKenzie's daughter, Michelle, who now lives in Northern California, got word and came forward to claim the medals.

Since then the Froelkers have also uncovered McKenzie's dress blue uniform. They plan to get it back to Michelle McKenzie as well.

The Froelkers still have a garage full of vintage items they plan to sell on Saturday and Sunday, June 1st and 2nd from 8 am - 2 pm. The address is 423 North Mason Road in Creve Coeur.

SHARECOMMENTMORE