Vietnam Veteran Reunited with His Purple Heart Medals Nearly 40 Years After They Were Stolen

Jamie Bath found Gus Albritton's Purple Heart medals at a yard sale in Brooksfield, Florida — the same city where they were robbed from Albritton's home in 1982

Purple heart medal. Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

A Vietnam veteran has been reunited with his beloved Purple Heart medals, close to 40 years after they were stolen — and it was all made possible by one kind stranger.

Gus Albritton never thought he'd see his Purple Heart medals again after they were robbed from his Brooksfield, Florida, home in 1982, WGXA reported.

But that all changed recently when Jamie Bath discovered the medals at a yard sale in the very city they were stolen 39 years ago, according to the outlet.

"Jamie said he had purchased a purple heart at a yard sale," Albritton, 71, explained to WGXA. "And it had my name engraved on the back."

With the medals in his possession, Bath set out to find Albritton — and the items have now been returned to their rightful owner, WGXA reported.

"I got my Purple Heart back after 38 years," Albritton told the outlet, calling the reunion a miracle. "You have to shed blood for your country to receive a Purple Heart and I've shed my share of blood for my country."

purple heart medal
Purple heart medal. Alex Wong/Getty

Albritton was just 18 years old when he was deployed to Vietnam to serve in the U.S. Army in 1968, according to WGXA.

"I graduated from high school on a Friday night. On Saturday, I got my draft notice, and on Monday I was up here in Georgia at Fort Benning," he recalled.

While serving overseas, Albritton was injured in three separate attacks. His sacrifices later earned him multiple Purple Heart medals.

"First time [was] in the right shoulder with an AK47," he explained to WGXA. "The second time, I was wounded through my feet, my legs, my feet, groin."

"Through the back, an RPG went through the bunker. I got fragments in my back and one piece came all the way through me out my chest," he added. "I'm still walking. The good lord's been good to me."

After the war ended in 1975, Albritton readjusted to civilian life as he hung onto keepsakes from his time in Vietnam, according to WGXA.

"I kept a lot of stuff in a big water jug and I had pocket knives and a bunch of change and other trinkets in there, and I had thrown my Purple Heart in there," he told the outlet.

RELATED VIDEO: Mom Reunited with Her Wedding Dress That Was Missing for 32 Years

That water jug was ultimately one of the items that got stolen in 1982 when Albritton's home was broken into it.

"Whoever broke into my house stole some guns and they stole that bottle of change," he explained to WGXA, noting that he reported it missing but had no other choice but to move on with life.

Albritton later moved to Dublin, Georgia, where he currently resides. Over the years, he has been actively involved in the community, namely as a volunteer with the Dublin VA Medical Center, WGXA reported.

It wasn't until recently that Bath reached out with the news and asked for Albritton's address to send the medals, according to the outlet.

Though Albritton is thrilled to have the medals back after four decades, he told WGXA that he's most excited to meet Bath in person and thank him for his kind act over a cup of coffee.

Related Articles