Everyday Heroes

Woman's Garage Sale Find Returns Purple Heart to Family

She and others worked tirelessly to find the WWII soldier's family and get the medal back to them.


When Tammie Mohan bought a purse at a garage sale two years ago, she never imagined she would start a process in motion that reunited a lost Purple Heart medal with the family of the man who paid the ultimate price to earn it nearly 75 years ago.

Floyd Mabb's Purple Heart medal.

The story starts in the town of Ballston Spa, NY, where a young Floyd Mabb enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. He was a paratrooper, and was killed in action at age 19 in January 1945 in Belgium. His mother was awarded his Purple Heart, but eventually the medal was lost.

Fast forward to this past August. Tammie finally pulled out that tag-sale purse to use it, and found the Purple Heart medal in the lining. She knew immediately how valuable it was to someone and posted on photos on Facebook asking for help in finding Mabb's family.

Mohan also reached out to the Saratoga County Clerk's Office , where they had to use a magnifying glass to read the name, written in cursive, on the back of the medal according to The Express Newspaper . At first they thought the medal said Floyd McNabb, but with a bit of deep digging (some key records had been destroyed in a fire), they were able to discover that the medal belonged to Private First Class Mabb, whose relatives still live in the area.

Bub Helman (R) and brother Lloyd, wearing his uncle's Liberty Medal.

The Purple Heart and New York's Liberty Medal were presented to Floyd Mabb's nephews Lloyd and William "Bub" Helman at a ceremony attended by other family members and dignitaries, who praised Mabb's sacrifice. "Although we could never thank you enough for Pfc. Floyd Mabb, this is the highest I can put forth, the highest award given by the New York State Senate," said State Sentor Jim Tedisco in describing the Liberty Medal.

"He will be long remembered, and we appreciate his sacrifice."

Saratoga County Clerk Craig Hayner, whose office worked so hard to find the medal's owners, said they were honored to do it. "Today is the culmination of a heartwarming story of community and exemplifies the importance of honoring the service and sacrifice of the brave men and women who have served our Country."

(Images: Tammie Mohan Facebook page , Saratoga County Clerk Facebook page )

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