Purple Heart-warming

August 11, 2013 

By any definition, it’s one heckuva story of happenstance, melancholy remembrance, happiness and heroism.

Henry Schenk, an immigrant from Austria, came to the United States in 1932. He settled, went to college and then served in the Army in World War II. A few years later, he was called to serve in Korea. There, on a hilltop, Lt. Henry Schenk died in a fierce firefight. One of his comrades became an actor. James McEachin is perhaps best known for roles in Perry Mason television movies.

And he was on that hill with Henry Schenk, whom he called the bravest man he ever saw.

OK, now here’s the happenstance. Schenk’s posthumous Purple Heart accidentally wound up in a box of books offered at a yard sale. The box apparently came from the estate of his late brother, who’d settled in Pinehurst, which is where the yard sale was. The purchaser, Kimberly Paller, connected with McEachin, who was online trying to find out information about Schenk.

Long story short: McEachin got the medal to someone who specialized in returning medals to families, and Schenk’s family is soon to get his. The man was a hero, and so, in a caring way, is Paller.

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