A veteran's Purple Hearts mission began with gift

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By AP

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Updated: Fri, 08 Aug 2014 01:15:23 EST

DENVER (AP) — His labor of love began with an effort to find the owner of a Purple Heart that was given to him as a gift.

Since then, Zachariah Fike (FYKE), a captain in the Vermont National Guard, has returned more than 100 Purple Heart medals, sometimes lost, sometimes stolen, to relatives of the original recipients. Most of those recipients were awarded the medal after being killed in combat.

The 33-year-old Fike created Purple Hearts Reunited in 2012. He has accumulated 300 Purple Heart medals and is receiving about three to five per week.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart is meeting in Denver this week. It plans to absorb Fike's foundation, making it part of its mission to lobby on behalf of veterans' health care and other benefits.

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