Purple Heart Returned to Peoria Family

Local News

A Purple Heart medal is returned to a Peoria family who never knew their father, a World War II veteran, earned it.


“He was an incredible man. We fished together, I used to sit on his lap and he would tell me stories. He drove me to dance classes 5 nights a week.” Corporal Edward Dunn’s daughter, Connie Barr, said of her late father.


To Barr, Corporal Dunn, was her chauffeur, a fishing companion, a storyteller, and most importantly, dad.


“He passed away when I was 14 so I don’t think I had a real sense of what he did and the sacrifices he made.” Barr explained.


Corporal Dunn enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 at 34 years old. He deployed in 1944, traveling through France, Belgium, and Germany during World War II. He didn’t talk about his time in the service often when he returned to civilian life, eventually becoming mayor of Bellevue.


“I knew that he was wounded I knew he was in World War II I did not know that he earned the Purple Heart.” Barr said.


Three weeks ago, Barr got a call from the State Treasurer’s Office. The voice on the other end of the phone was telling her they had found unclaimed property in her name. Inside of the safety deposit box was a Purple Heart.


“I feel deeply moved and proud of his service and who he was.” Barr said.


The State Treasurer’s office currently has more than 100 unclaimed military medals belonging to Illinois veterans and their families, now that number is one less.


“His legacy lives on and I now have another piece of that so it’s a real honor.” Barr said.


Now, Connie Barr adds a new title for her dad all these years later, hero.


Corporal Dunn also received the European-African-Middle-Eastern theater ribbon with 2 Bronze Battle stars, 4 Service stripes, 2 Overseas Service bars and a Good Conduct medal.


In the last 6 months, the Treasurer’s Office has returned 3 purple hearts. It will keep the rest of the military medals until the owners or family members are found.


If you believe you have unclaimed property click here.

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