LI woman donates Purple Heart to school bearing veteran’s name
A West Babylon woman was honored for donating a Purple Heart to a school in Texas that is named for the veteran who was awarded the medal.
Lisa Ludwig, of West Babylon, says she found the token at a Long Island gun show and traced it back to a decorated veteran.
The medal was awarded to World War II hero Lt. Col. Robert G. Cole. It was given to a high school in San Antonio that bears his name.
"I didn't realize I had one with a name until the next day when I pulled it out of my bag... and it actually had Robert G. Cole's name on it,” Ludwig says.
As she did her research to try to track down the rightful owner, she discovered that Cole was also awarded the Medal of Honor for leading his battalion under heavy fire, days after parachuting into Normandy on D-Day.
She sent it back to the high school last month and it was unveiled Friday before 750 students during a ceremony honoring veterans.
"The kids went nuts. When we dismissed them to go back to class, they just poured out of the stands and everyone wanted to see it,” says retired Army Col. William LaChance, who runs the ROTC program at the school.
LaChance says the whereabouts of the medal since it was awarded in 1944 will remain a mystery.
"If that medal could talk... I don't know what story it would tell, but it was a 75-year journey… This past October 30... it was 75 years to the day it was presented, so it's really amazing,” he says.
He says they're still searching for Cole’s Medal of Honor.
Extended interview with Lisa Ludwig: