A Korean War veteran living in Arizona hopes to recover his lost or stolen Purple Heart medal, which he received more than 60 years ago — and because he is going blind he hopes to reunite with it soon, before he can no longer see again.
Donald Herman Voigt, 86, served in the U.S. Army, defending South Korea from communism, when he was injured in combat and suffered serious injuries to his left arm, said family friend Val Hobson, who has been “working feverishly” on behalf of Voigt.
Voigt was in sickbay when he was awarded the Purple Heart, just as the Korean War cease-fire was about to be signed in 1953.
It was around that time that Voigt’s distinguished award was lost or stolen.
“I only had it for 10 or 15 minutes,” Voigt recalled of his medal. “So I’m not used to having it anyway. But it would be nice.”
Voigt’s recollection of losing the medal was relayed to Fox News by Hobson.
“Well, I was just a kid at the time and I wasn’t sure why I received the award as I was doing what I was sent and trained to do. It happened so fast – I was injured by shrapnel, sent to sickbay and given the Purple Heart,” Voigt said. “Then — it was gone. I just thought I’d never get it back again so to have it would be pretty wonderful as I didn’t really realize at the time just how much it meant.”
“Then — it was gone. I just thought I’d never get it back again so to have it would be pretty wonderful as I didn’t really realize at the time just how much it meant.”
Voigt now lives in Apache Junction, Ariz., about 35 miles east of Phoenix. His family and Hobson are hoping to bring the Purple Heart back to the veteran through their congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle, including U.S. Sens. Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema, and U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar.
Voigt joined the National Guard on Feb. 15, 1952, serving on the 44th Infantry Division of Illinois.
Then, on President Harry Truman’s orders, he was called to serve in the Army and was deployed to Korea, where served through Nov. 1, 1953. He served in the 7th Infantry Division, 31st Regiment Infantry, Love Company and attained the rank of corporal before receiving an honorable discharge.
“Having the rare distinction of being awarded the Purple Heart surely categorizes him as a man among men who put his life on the line without any hesitation. And though he is amazingly humble and always minimizes his efforts, he deserves to have this medal and all the recognition and praise that goes with this accomplishment,” Hobson said in a statement.
Voigt, along with his entire unit, also received a citation medal from the then-president of South Korea, Syngman Rhee, in recognition of their dedicated service in 1953.
Hobson described Voigt as “a very special person. Humble to a fault, but kind, caring, loving and generous. Someone who never had an enemy.”
“Good Lord willing, I will pursue this until he has it in his hand,” Hobson told Fox News, adding that she believes Voigt “deserves this” and “should have it.”