Local man searching for owner of Purple Heart found near Tulsa intersection 20 years ago

Posted at 8:32 PM, Mar 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 22:53:31-04

TULSA -- A local man is searching for the owner of a Purple Heart found near a busy intersection more than 20 years ago. That symbol of bravery and sacrifice has one man on a desperate mission to return the precious medal to it's rightful owner. 

Sitting in a purple velvet case, it's a medal for only the bravest.

"The older I get, the more I realize it really means a lot to somebody," Steve Stefanoff said.

A name is written on the back, Robert A. Wilder.

"Somebody fought in a war and they were injured or maybe their life was taken," Stefanoff said.

But it's not in his hands. It's in Steve Stefanoff's hands. He found it 20 years ago.

"One day in the dumpster was this purple heart," he said.

That dumpster is behind Bounty Lounge, which Stefanoff's father used to own.

"Who knows how it got there," he said.

Inside the bar, patriotism shines. A Vietnam Veteran sits at the bar.

"I was a helicopter pilot and I was shot down five times in Vietnam and never got a scratch," Vietnam Veteran Skip Reed said.

Reed came close to earning himself a purple heart. He knows the sacrifice and importance of the gold heart.

"It shows the dedication that we as Americans, especially soldiers, to fight for the freedom of other people," he said.

With multiple internet searches and posts to Facebook, Robert Wilder hasn't been found.

"I've had it so long that I just kind of don't even think about it returning to the owner," Stefanoff said.

But Stefanoff has hope.

"I know there is somebody out there that this belongs to and we're going to get it to them," he said.

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