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Family located of Montana serviceman whose Purple Heart medal was left in trash

Posted at 2:20 PM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 23:32:24-05

GREAT FALLS- The family of a fallen service member has been located after his Purple Heart medal was found in a Great Falls trash container.

The medal for Sgt. Robert M. Johnson was found in the trash by a man looking for scrap metal.

When he showed the medal to Aaron Hartnell at Pacific Steel & Recycling, Hartnell bought it in an effort to find Johnson or his family.

The nonprofit group “Purple Hearts Reunited” announced on Wednesday night that it found the surviving family.

According to the organization, Johnson was from Neihart and was killed in action when he and his crew were shot down Nov. 29, 1943, at Keita Harbor in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific. At the time of his death, he was married to his love Dorothy.

He is buried in the Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Neb.

Hartnell is currently working with the family to arrange the return of the medal.

Reporting by Joe Huisinga, MTN News