WANAQUE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – How far would you go to return a military medal?
One New Jersey town’s police department is stopping at nothing.
As CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reported, the World War One medal is leading police on a quest, and the inscription is just the first clue.
“Presented to Dan Battaglia by the people of Wanaque borough, New Jersey in grateful recognition of patriotic service in the World War,” Police Chief Robert Kronyak read.
When the 1917 medal came in, nobody could predict the undertaking it would become.
“I know Battaglias in this town. When I saw the name, I figured on my lunchbreak I would do some quick research on our CAD system, and by that afternoon I’d be driving to someone’s house handing it off,” said Cpt. Ken Fackina.
That was a week ago.
Battaglia is a common name and 100-year-old records are hard to come by. For more than a week, police have been assembling information to locate any remaining relative of a WWI veteran Dan Battaglia.
“It’s something that needs to be with a family member,” Fackina said. “It doesn’t belong in a case here in our building.”
In the small town, military service is a source of pride. Dan Battaglia’s name is even on a monument outside the police department.
They know where he lived, when he passed, and that he was believed to have no children. That’s not stopping their mission.
“We don’t deserve to have it here, the borough doesn’t deserve to have it here. It’s the family that deserves to have it,” said Kronyak. “Dan is the one who fought in the war.”
Now 101 years after it was first awarded, the town is hoping to see it presented again.
“It may be a distant family member, but it’s going to be in a family member’s hand soon,’ Fackina said. “There’s going to be a lot of joy, that I’ll know at that point it’s home. That’s really where it needs to be.”
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