Purple Heart makes long trip back to ETX family - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Purple Heart makes long trip back to ETX family

Posted: Updated:
  • NEWSMore>>

  • Former head coach's public address leaves more questions than answers

    Former head coach's public address leaves more questions than answers

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:06 AM EDT2014-08-29 08:06:04 GMT
    Coach Woodrow Lowe opens up about his removal as the Central High School football coach. It's one he says he still doesn't know the exact reason behind. A Columbus attorney says this is possible becauseMore >>
    Woodrow Lowe, Central High School's former head football coach, breaks his silence about his non renewal and leaves more questions than answers. News Leader Nine's Tyrone McCoy digs into what an attorney and the board's governing body says are the legal limits for this type of decision.More >>
  • Kool & the Gang to headline concert on Ft. Benning

    Kool & the Gang to headline concert on Ft. Benning

    Friday, August 29 2014 3:55 AM EDT2014-08-29 07:55:07 GMT
    It's a celebration! Come celebrate good times with Kool & the Gang in a free concert September 13 on Fort Benning's York Field. Special guests include Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and RaeLynn. This freeMore >>
    It's a celebration! Come celebrate good times with Kool & the Gang in a free concert September 13 on Fort Benning's York Field. Special guests include Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and RaeLynn. This free event starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Video equipment and cameras will not be permitted.More >>
  • News 9 MD: Ear cancer survivor gets new "ear"

    News 9 MD: Ear cancer survivor gets new "ear"

    Friday, August 29 2014 3:38 AM EDT2014-08-29 07:38:01 GMT
    Whether he's playing hockey or flying high, Henry Fiorentini lives an active lifestyle. But a few years ago, a very common form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma almost took his life. "It'sMore >>
    Whether he's playing hockey or flying high, Henry Fiorentini lives an active lifestyle. But a few years ago, a very common form of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma almost took his life. "It'sMore >>
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

If you just happened to pass by a little gathering on the square in downtown Tyler Tuesday afternoon, there's no way you could know just how important it was, or how much work it took to make it happen.

But at the center of that gathering, a Purple Heart medal is finally home, after a trip from more than 1500 miles away.

Kris Wilson of Edom had given up on finding her long-lost uncle, Robert Bates, who died on board the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Her family had tried to fill that hole in its history for 20 years.

What they couldn't know is that earlier this year in Bakersfield, California, someone found Robert's purple heart, basically in the street.

That medal found its way to a high school history class, taught by Ken Hooper.

"When they brought it in, I showed it to the students, and they attacked the computers," Hooper said.

Hooper's students knew how important the medal was, but were stonewalled by, of all things, a 70-year-old typo.

"The official Pearl Harbor web site, says Tobert Bates, not Robert Bates," Hooper said.

Hooper and his students kept working, and finally connected Robert to his niece in East Texas, who couldn't believe it when she got the phone call.

"That part of our history was almost lost for good," Wilson said. "His great-nieces and nephews, his memory will live on."

And they'll have that medal to help. Hooper made the trip from California to personally deliver it to the family. And he's got a great story to tell his students when he gets home.

"Teachers get paid in strange ways, this was payment in full," Hooper said.  "To see her reaction, I knew that we did the right thing."

Thanks to the work done by Mr. Hooper's class, the Bates family also found more of their family in Athens, TX.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All Rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.