(WBIR-Maryville) Several people gathered in Maryville to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and to return a special award to its rightful home.
Patricia Preacher received her brother's Purple Heart Award after it had been missing for several years. Preacher's brother, Private First Class Joseph Jordan, was one of 22 men in the famed 506th Parachute Regiment, also known as the "Band of Brothers."
"You know I was real young, in the 3rd or 4th grade when he enlisted," Preacher, a Wears Valley resident, recalled.
Although Preacher was young when her brother was deployed, the event at American Legion Post 13 in Blount County gave her an opportunity to remember his bravery.
"I know you don't ever forget him," Preacher said. "You don't always talk about him, but you don't ever forget him."
U.S. Army Captain Zachariah Fike, the founder of Purple Hearts Reunited, found Jordan's medal after it had been passed from owner to owner for years. Since starting "Purple Hearts Reunited" in 2012, Fike has located and returned more that 80 Purple Heart Awards to soldiers' families.
He spent four months researching and locating Jordan's family, so he could return the medal.
Friday's service held a special significance to Fike, however, whose military career was greatly inspired by Jordan's regiment.
"Every man who lost his life on D-Day is considered my hero," he said.
Preacher saw her brother's Purple Heart, along with other awards -- including the Bronze Star -- encased together. She did not know how she would take this priceless gift.
"My family asked if I would bring a lot of handkerchiefs with me," she said.
For more information on Purple Hearts Reunited, visit their website.