After 77 years, man reunited with father’s WWII Medal of Honor

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 6:48 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - One man in Roanoke was finally reunited with his father’s Medal of Honor after years of searching.

Imagine losing a family heirloom and never getting closer to finding it.

“It is actually the only thing I have that represents my father,” said Bob Wilkin.

In 1946, at just 7 years old, Bob received the Congressional Medal honoring his father, Edward Wilkin.

“General Omar Bradley presenting it to me, but what it really meant and what it represented,” said Wilkin. “I never really understood it until I got older.”

A year later he went away to military school and lost track of it.

“Not really knowing whether it was stolen or if I had given it to somebody,” explained Wilkin.

Edward was killed in action while fighting during WWII. He was one of 473 soldiers recognized for their heroic actions and sacrifice.

“In three days, he neutralized and captured six pillboxes single-handedly. Killed at least nine Germans, wounded 13, took 13 prisoners, aided in the capture of 14 others, and saved many, many American lives,” said Congressman Ben Cline.

Bob continued to search for decades - but never found the medal no matter where he looked. So he called Cline for help.

“That is something our team does but this one was a little unique,” said Cline.

Cline’s staffers asked the U.S. Army to replicate - something the Army said it couldn’t do.

But that didn’t deter them - they continued hunting and found it in Edward’s hometown of Longmeadow in Massachusetts at the Longmeadow Historical Society.

“Just reinforces to me what a great job they do each and every day for the citizens of the sixth district of Virginia,” added Cline.

77 years after it was first given to him, Bob got the medal back in Roanoke at Friendship where he now lives.

“But I am grateful to the Heavenly Father for allowing this to come back to me,” said Wilkin.