A few months ago, we were contacted by a Soldier from Texas. He emailed us asking for help locating the family of a Purple Heart and some other documents he came across. In his first email he explains that he found the Purple Heart, and another certificate in a pile of trash, in a home he had recently moved into. This is the first email:
Hello, I am just wondering if I could get some help.
I am currently in the process of separating from the ARMY and am buying a house in Texas (currently stationed at Ft. Polk). During one of the visits to the house I am buying (which has been unoccupied for some time) I saw a pile of trash in the corner of one of the garages, one piece of “trash” didn’t sit quite right with me.
I picked up a cardboard tube (used for mailing) and inside was a post-mortum purple heart declaration/award (no orders) and a paper that states this PVT was KIA, the kicker was he was KIA in 1945 in Northern Africa.
I have been trying to find out more about this PVT so I can return the documents to the right people. The Purple Heart registry has negative results on his name and what information I have found online doesn’t seem to take me anywhere to find any family members. Can you give me some direction on where I could go next?
if you need more information or to verify the validity, just shoot me an email or call my cell phone, I will be off work Friday and Saturday
A few days later he emails us back with pictures of Rivers Dog Tag, pictured below with the Purple Heart and letter from the President.
These are the initial pictures Jared sent us to work with:
The Presidential letter above was actually wrong about his place of death, although he was in North Africa previously, he was not killed there. He was KIA on 23 May 1944 at Anzio, Italy as part of “Operation Diadem” and was killed breaking the “Gustav Line”. This according to documents viewed from the National Archives as well as his Obituary.
And so began a four-month long search and an eventual culmination to this story. We began searching every database we had access to , looking for anything on a PVT. Roger W. Rivers. I found that he had been laid to rest in Massachusetts, and that he had never been married, nor had any children. But found he had several siblings, although his mother had passed in the late 90’s and his father previous to that.
I was finally able to find someone who had taken a picture of some grave markers and one just happened to be PVT. Rivers. I made contact with the lady that had taken the photo, and she was familiar with the family and said she would try to make contact.
All while this is going on, Jared is preparing to make the trip to wherever, so he can return the items personally. As Soldiers, he and I understood the significance of what he had found and what it would mean to the family to have these items.
He decides he wants to get the items framed to keep the safe from damage etc, he also begins planning leave to make the trip.
Here are the documents after he got them framed for the family:
After several weeks I heard back from the lady, who provided me with the phone number for his sister, a Mrs. Harriet Moore. She said Mrs. Moore was ecstatic about the find, and had no clue at this point how the items ended up in Texas.
I passed this information on to Jared, who made contact with her. Jared finalized his plans and made some phone calls to some friends who also helped him make this trip possible. And as of yesterday, 28 September 2013, the items are back with the family of the Fallen Soldier.
Jared sent us this a few hours ago and asked us to include it in the write-up.
Here are some pictures, thanks to you guys at Stolen Valor I was able to get these documents from where they sat in a pile of trash in an abandoned house in Southeast Texas all the way to the next of kin to PVT Roger Rivers, a soldier who was KIA in WW2.
Pictured are Myself (in red shirt) Mrs. Harriet Moore (younger sister to the soldier), My wife Krysta Scoggan, and in the 2nd picture Mr. Bob Moore (Harriet’s husband)I was able to sit down with these fine folks from Massachusetts, shared a Beer with Bob, the pictures were taken about an hour after I got there, emotions were high and it seems everyone was crying or choked up so nobody thought to get the camera out haha, it was an experience I will never forget.Thank You for making all this possible!!!V/R,Jared A. Scoggan
If you post the story to your site, will you be sure to put in there somewhere that my wife and I would like to give great thanks to Stolen Valor, Arnold Lee, Amelia Warchal, and Megan Hook for the countless hours and resources that have been contributed in making this entire experience possible.
Megan Hook is a dear friend from high school who i have managed to stay in contact with, now works for Jet Blue and arranged my travel from Houston to Boston.
Arnold and his girlfriend Amelia, picked us up from the airport, had a guest room prepared for us, showed us the town, drove us the 2 hours to meet with the Moore family and were just so amazing and took care of us making this all financially possible saving us money on hotels and giving us the local way to do things, I could not have possibly done this without all three of them. And of course Stolen Valor for using their resources to find the family, the verification, and putting us in contact.
This has been several months in the works, and it feels great to help reunite a family with memories of their loved one. He gave his life for this country, the least we could do for him is spare some time to track down and reunite his items with his family.
Thanks to Jared and his wife, who took time from their own lives to help this Soldier’s Purple Heart and other items find their way home. Seems kid of ironic that it would be a Soldier who would pick up something out of a pile of trash, because he had a feeling about it, and it turn out to be the last remnants of another Soldier who died for us so many years ago.
Mrs. Moore, I am glad you have a part of your brother back with you after all this time, and we also thank you for the sacrifice your family made.