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Purple Heart Belonging to Deceased WWII Veteran Returns to Peoria Family

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

The daughter of a World War II veteran who died 47 years ago has finally received her father’s Purple Heart.

The medal was originally awarded to the late Army Cpl. Edward Dunn.  He died in 1970. Years later, his Purple Heart was discovered in a safe deposit box that was surrendered to the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office as unclaimed property.

“Mr. Dunn had an impressive background, and today I’m proud to return his Purple Heart back to his family, where it belongs,” State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said.

During his service, Dunn participated in the Rhineland Campaign and the Western Allied Invasion of Germany. After the war, he worked for Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery in Peoria and later became mayor of Bellevue.

Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio
Peoria Public Radio
Connie Barr held up a diary that belonged to her father Cpl. Edward Dunn, which he kept during World War II. Treasurer Michael Frerichs (right) joined Barr at a ceremony Mon. to deliver her father's Purple Heart.

Frerichs bestowed the Purple Heart to Cpl. Dunn’s daughter Connie Barr during a ceremony at the World War II memorial Mon., outside the Peoria County Courthouse.

“My dad has been gone for over forty years, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t still miss him,” Barr said. “And to have this part of him means so much to me.”

Barr was 14 when her father died.    

She says she’s also trying to obtain duplicates of other medals her father received to put in a memorial. Following the press conference, a member of the Peoria County Veteran’s Assistance Commission offered to help.

Edward Dunn’s medal was kept in a safe deposit box that was surrendered to the state treasurer’s office as unclaimed property in 1993.

Frerichs is promoting his office’s role in returning unclaimed property to Illinoisans. This is the third lost Purple Heart to be reclaimed in the last six months.