MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Last weekend we reported Army veteran Gary Kennedy was on the hunt to find the family of the soldier's Purple Heart. The medal was found in a Midland Dumpster. It is unknown how the medals ended up in there and some believe it could have been an accident.
Engraved on the medals, is the name Jim C. Carter. The medals suggested the veteran was an Army soldier who served during World War II. After we reported the story, Kennedy has received hundreds of tips from callers across the country.
"From Missouri, Seattle, Washington, I had one from Honolulu, Hawaii," said Kennedy.
But now he said it's time to call the search over.
"We found the missing piece to the puzzle. We found the family member," he said.
The family member found by phone records reveals Tommy Carter, who used to live in Midland, is now living in Dallas Fort Worth. He said his uncle by the same name of Jim C Carter, who passed away in Midland in 1982, was in fact a World War II Army veteran who lived in Midland.
"I was five years old when we lived out there," said nephew Tommy Carter. "Uncle Jim and Aunt Sarah didn't have any children, they were kind of like my second parents."
Although, he was unsure whether his uncle received a Purple Heart. However, he confirms his uncle Jim C Carter was shot in combat. In order to receive a Purple Heart, you had to have been shot.
"I remember my uncle was shot," said Carter. "In World War II, he was infantry, he was shot in the leg."
We spoke with the Military Order of the Purple Heart who told us there wasn't a national database for all Purple Heart Recipients. However, we got a hold of a non-profit called Purple Hearts Reunited based in Vermont. The founder, Zachariah Fike, is an expert at reuniting veterans and families with Purple Hearts.
"This is the only Jim C Carter that exists by name, Midland, Texas, again, the fact they were found there tells me this is the right guy," said Fike. He found two other veterans with the same name but said Tommy Carter is highly likely the family of the Jim C. Carter medals.
"One was born 1946, he's ruled out. One was United States Air Force. He's ruled out. The other one is our guy, that the family found."
Fike said although he's sure Tommy is the right relative, that it's hard to get 100% confirmation since older records take time to recover.
Kennedy and the Carter family are planning a reunion next week Tuesday in Abilene. Kennedy said although it was only a short two days since the report, it was a long process but is happy to see the memories of a veteran's service are finally going home where they belong.
"We need to get that back to the family, yes we do, that was the biggest concern from everyone. It was the same as mine," Kennedy said. "Thank you to everybody."