Veteran honored - finally - with missing Purple Heart medal

He was 18 when he went to war, 20 when he died and the only picture anyone has of Cpl. Dominic Cosmo Orlando is out of focus.

On Monday, Orlando's hometown of Bernardsville honored his service and sacrifice as his Purple Heart medal -- one he never received -- was presented to the Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter.

"It's an incredible honor," said Kevin Barry, a representative of the Bernardsville VFW 7858. It "popped up a couple of months ago -- we knew nothing about it."

The paperwork for the medal -- not the medal itself -- was found in a nondescript box dropped off at the Bernardsville post office. Bernardsville Post Master Rosky went through the documents, reached out to the government, and tried to find Orlando or his family.

Orlando was wounded in two tours of duty in the South Pacific in World War II, but died in a car wreck when he was on leave in 1944.

"A sixth cousin was found, but did not have any interest," said Barry.

Capt. Zachariah Fike works with the federal government reconnecting people lost medals. "I will not quit -- not take my last breath until every single Purple Heart medal is reunited with the veteran or family of a veteran who earned it," said Fike.
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