Medal mystery: North Fort Myers woman searching for family of Purple Heart recipient

One woman is on a mission to find a veteran’s family after she was given a one-of-a-kind item found inside a secondhand piece of furniture.

The Purple Heart is perhaps the stateliest symbol of American sacrifice. It’s almost inconceivable they so often end up in the most random places, in the most random hands.

“It was given to us by a friend who found it in furniture from an estate sale somewhere in Florida,” said Brenda Carlson of North Fort Myers.

Carlson received the Purple Heart eight years ago. She’s a member of Amvets Post 81, so her friend who found it in that secondhand sofa figured Carlson would know what to do with it.

“She just said, ‘I have this Purple Heart medal, maybe you can find out who it belongs to.'”

Finding out who it belonged to was the easy part. His name is etched into the golf: Charles W. Crabbe.

The hard part? Finding his family, whoever they may be.

“I sent letters, I sent emails; emails were not returned, letters were not returned.”

Carlson doesn’t know who the Crabbes are, but she has learned a little about their Charles.

In that small Purple Heart box, there was also an obituary dated Oct. 13, 1945. Crabbe was a member of the B-24 Liberator, a technical sergeant. He was killed in action.

He grew up in Rockville Centre, New York, and died in Germany, but his Purple Heart somehow ended up in North Fort Myers.

“It needs to be with the family,” Carlson said.

“Regardless of when it was, who it was, or what they served for, if you went to war, you deserve to receive the awards.”

Why has it taken Carlson eight years to bring the Purple Heart to light? She stored it away for safekeeping and forgot she had it – until she was doing some quarantine cleaning at her home.

WINK News reached out to the Veterans Administration, Crabbe’s high school, and looked for his family, just like Carlson did, but we had no luck.

If you might know who they are, you can send us an email at [email protected].

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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