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This Veterans Day, the Tennessee Treasury, Unclaimed Property Division wants to return military medals to owners
Jamie Page
/ Categories: Unclaimed Property

This Veterans Day, the Tennessee Treasury, Unclaimed Property Division wants to return military medals to owners

NASHVILLE – This Veterans Day, the Tennessee Department of Treasury is asking for help in locating the owners of military medals held for safekeeping by the Division of Unclaimed Property.

In Tennessee, unclaimed property is usually money. However, if a military medal is found in an abandoned safe deposit box, the medal is turned over to the State Treasurer for safekeeping until it can be returned to the rightful owner.

Some examples of military medals currently held in Unclaimed Property for Tennesseans, include:

Purple Heart: A Purple Heart was found in a safe deposit box held by Victor Presnell, of Cane Ridge, including a letter indicating the medal was awarded to Pvt. Lawrence Presnell on April 23, 1945. This medal, when awarded in 1945, was for wounds received in action against the enemy in World War II.

Armed Forces Expeditionary Service: This medal, in holding for Arthur S. Fair or Gloria Ownes, of Milligan College, was awarded to military members who, after July 1, 1958, participated in a U.S. military operation and encountered foreign armed opposition. It can also be awarded to those who were in significant danger of hostile action by foreign armed forces.

European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign: This medal was awarded for qualifying U.S. military service within the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations between Dec. 7, 1941, and March 2, 1946. These medals are in holding for three Tennesseans - Charles Brown, of Knoxville; James C. Sanders, of Nashville; and Joseph R. Foster, of Nashville.

WWII Victory Medal: The World War II Victory Medal was first issued as a service ribbon, and later established as a medal in 1946. It was awarded to any member of the U.S. armed services who served on active duty, or as a reservist, between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946. These medals are in holding for James C. Sanders, of Nashville, and Joseph R. Foster, of Nashville.

The Treasury is asking for the public’s help in reuniting the owners with their medals. If you know any of these individuals or their families, please help us get these medals back to those who earned them. All unclaimed property, including medals in safekeeping, is listed at Medals in holding are listed as “Tangible Property.”

“You cannot put a value on these priceless badges of sacrifices made by our military,” Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. said. “These medals belong in the hands of the families of these heroes.”

The Tennessee General Assembly established a law to protect military medals for veterans in May 2011. Identifying military medals as “any decoration or award that may be presented or awarded to a member of a unit of the Armed Forces or National Guard,” the law established a clear policy to turn over these medals to the Treasurer for safekeeping until they are claimed by the rightful owners or their heirs.

Medals currently in keeping include various World War II medals, Dog tags, military pins, and other insignia.

“The sacrifice of our service men and women is worthy of our highest honor,” said Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Tommy Baker. “This program to reunite lost medals with the families of the service members who earned them is commendable and courageous just as those service members were when they put on the uniform. I am proud that our State has a process to reunite these medals with their rightful owners.”

During the week of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Department will also be using Facebook and Twitter to share the names of individuals who may have these medals to claim.

About the Unclaimed Property Program

Unclaimed property is money turned over to the Division by businesses and organizations that were unable to locate the rightful owner. This consumer protection program of the State Treasury works to reunite the millions of missing dollars turned over every year with its rightful owners.

The Unclaimed Property Division returned 52,584 claims, totaling $60 million, to the rightful owners during fiscal year 2021. There is currently over $1.2 billion waiting to be claimed.

Anyone can see if they are owed any missing money by searching their name at and may file a claim online if they find unclaimed property belonging to them. Treasury recommends searching for common misspellings of your name and previous addresses. In Tennessee, there is no time limit to claim unclaimed property. It is held for the rightful owner or their legal beneficiaries until it is claimed.

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