Valley man returns lost WWII veteran's purple heart to Oklahoma

A man in the Valley went to great lengths to return a veteran's lost purple heart.

Matthew Carlson, a Vietnam veteran himself, found the medal at a flea market in Glendale and bought it for $20.

The World War II soldier's name was inscribed on the back: Clarence Marcus Merriott. After a lot of research, Carlson tracked down his family in Stilwell, Okla.

"At the flea market he came across it, didn't know who it belonged to. But when he looked into it, it had a note, and it described him being apart of the 300th combat engineers," said U.S. Congressman Markwayne Mullin.

Merriott and other members of the 300th Engineers were aboard a Landing Ship Tank in June 1944 when it struck a mine in the English Channel.

It was nearly five miles off the coast of France where they were preparing to land on Utah Beach.

Rep. Mullin and Matthew Carlson joined dozens of others in Stilwell at a purple heart transfer on Veterans Day.

"I was thinking, how do you say thank you to the men and women that made possible everything that we have? And everything we are?" Carlson said, speaking from a podium at the high school.

"There's a bible verse, that says it better than I ever could. It says 'I thank my God on every memory of you,'" he said.

"Even though I didn't know him, I'm humbled by the sacrifice he gave our country, and many men and women, countless others have made," Carlson said.

Merriott's family has decided to display the medal in a historical museum in the Adair County Historical Association's museum in Stilwell, Okla.

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