Family of World War I veteran receives Purple Heart at HPLM

A Purple Heart belonging to a World War I veteran, shrapnel removed from his leg and other personal items were returned to the veteran’s family during a ceremony Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums.

Purple Hearts Reunited, a non-profit organization that returns lost or stolen military medals to veterans or their families, gave the items belonging to Carl Ivan Bond to his grandson, Jeff Bond of Fremont, and other family members.

“I remember my grandfather,” Jeff bond told the group gathered in the rotunda of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. “He was a hero. We just didn’t know there was something else out there, something more than us knowing the story.”

Carl Ivan Bond, who was from Noble County, Ohio, enlisted in 1917. He was fighting in Muesse-Argonne, France, when he stepped on a landmine on Oct. 14, 1918. At the time, the Purple Heart did not exist, and he instead received a certificate, which was standard at the time. When the Purple Heart was introduced in 1932, he was awarded the medal.

Bond was discharged in 1919 and returned home. He had five children and worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He died in 1978 in Cambridge, Ohio.

His Purple Heart, wallet that still contained French currency, his pocketknife, the shrapnel and more were found in a storage unit in Florida and turned up at a sale. Purple Hearts Reunited bought the items and spent several months tracking down the family until it was able to reach Jeff Bond’s daughter.

“This will never leave the family again,” Jeff Bond said.

It is not uncommon for medals and items like this to be lost and end up in sales, said U.S. Army Maj. Zachariah Fike, who is the founder of Purple Hearts Reunited and presented the medals and other items to the family.

“Often, we’re telling families information they never knew about,” said Fike, who has received the Purple Heart for being wounded during his service overseas. “You’re going to be able to pass this down to (your children) so they don’t forget about your roots.” 

The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums is America’s first presidential library and is located at Spiegel Grove at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues. The facility is affiliated with the Ohio History Connection.

For information, call 419-332-2081, or visit rbhayes.org. Like HPLM on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hayespresidentialcenter and follow on Twitter at @rbhayespres and Instagram at rbhayespres.