Purple Heart returned to family after 17 years

Published: Monday, August 19, 2013 at 06:16 PM.

Hearing from a stranger about the lost medal reminded her of another experience when she helped return an urn containing a woman’s ashes to her son.

Bulla, who manages rental property in the Fayetteville area, kept the abandoned urn safe in her office after a tenant gave it to her. About a week later, a tornado struck and a painting dropped out of the sky near her office.

When a Raleigh TV station did a story on the mystery painting, Bulla mentioned having the urn. A genealogist who heard the story tracked down the woman’s family and Bulla shipped it to her son.

“That kind of reminds me of this,” Bulla said. “I just thought it was gone.”

Bulla had once lived in the house where the Jabaleys live now. After she moved away, her son David moved in. Eventually, she gave David her father’s Purple Heart.

In 1996, Hurricane Fran damaged a brick apartment in the backyard. She said her son thought everything in the building was destroyed and he lost track of the medal about that time.

“I’m really glad to get it back,” Bulla told Jabaley. “I’m going to keep it now.”

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