The family of a World War II pilot lost his Purple Heart in the 1960s. This weekend, it’s finally being returned.
Wiljo Matalamaki had his bomber plane shot down over Germany in 1944 and it was never recovered. His mother held onto his Purple Heart until her death in 1966, when the medal disappeared.
Decades later in the ’90s, another family that had moved into the home where Matalamaki grew up found the Purple Heart in a dump near their house. Tami Heart was fascinated by the medal and began researching Matalamaki’s life. Eventually, descendants of Matalamaki returned to the home and asked Heart to return the medal to the war hero’s family. The relatives will receive the Purple Heart at a military fort in St. Paul on Sunday.