WWII hero’s medals found inside Goodwill store

CHESTERFIELD (AP) — The daughter of a World War II hero has stepped forward to claim his medals after news accounts about how they mysteriously turned up in a Goodwill store.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in Friday’s edition that medals belonging to Marine Sgt. James Joseph McKenzie were found in a box at a Goodwill store in Chesterfield. The medals included a Purple Heart and a Silver Star, the military’s third-highest honor.

On Friday morning, McKenzie’s daughter, Mimi Michelle McKenzie, now of California, contacted Goodwill after seeing the news account.

Goodwill President and CEO Lewis Chartock said that as soon as McKenzie sends him notarized proof that she is James Joseph McKenzie’s daughter, he will send her the medals.

It isn’t clear how the box of medals ended up at Goodwill. Chartock, a Vietnam veteran and military aficionado, recognized the value of the medals and began searching for relatives, believing the donation was a mistake.

Documents from the display indicate that McKenzie was born in St. Louis in 1918 and joined the Marines in October 1940.

McKenzie returned to St. Louis after the war and worked as a salesman. He married in 1947. He died in 1979 at age 60.

“I think it’s amazing this thing turned up right before Memorial Day,” Chartock said.

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