Illinois Treasurer Has Over 100 Unclaimed Military Medals
Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs' office holds more than 100 military medals and ribbons that were surrendered as unclaimed property, and there's nothing they'd like better than to reunite the medals with the men and women who were awarded them, or get them to the servicemember's family.
“Memorial Day is a time to honor the sacrifices of our military members and their families,” Frerichs said. “These medals are a daily reminder of the sacrifices that others have made for our country and it is important that these special honors are reunited with their proper owners.”
Military medals that were surrendered as unclaimed property are being held by the Treasurer's office as part of Illinois' Unclaimed Property Page. If you're unfamiliar, the State Treasurer is holding more than $3.5 billion in unclaimed funds for Illinoisans. The State Treasurer holds these lost funds until they are claimed by either the original owner or their heirs. Property is returned at no cost with the proper identification.
The Treasurer's office comes into possession of the unclaimed property when they receive the contents of safe deposit boxes that have remained untouched or inactive for a period of five years. Names of the owners of the safe deposit boxes are published, but if no one comes forward to make a claim, the Treasurer's office will sometimes sell jewelry, coins, stamps and other collectibles, but keep the proceeds for a legal claimant down the line.
They do not sell off military items at auction, since their goal is to reunite the medals with their owners or their families. If you're a veteran, or are lucky enough to have one in your family, check to see if perhaps one or more of those medals should be back with you and yours.
About 20 years back, my dad, a WWII veteran, thought that his medals had been lost many years before, maybe during a move from one house to another. Without his knowledge, my wife Amy and I scoured his home from attic to crawlspace looking for them, finally locating 2 medals that had been tossed into a box full of documents and old checkbook registers.
That Father's Day, we were thrilled to present these to him (the flag came later).