Mansfield Couple Returns Purple Heart Found in Storage Unit

Amy Maybury has bought and sold antiques at the Antique Mall of Mansfield for nearly two years because she never knows what will turn up.

"I find so many things from my past that make me dig deep inside and bring out memories that I forgot," she said. "It's just a lot of fun. It's not even work."

Maybury now runs a booth there called "Ruby Love." To help keep her shelves stocked, she occasionally buys storage units in auctions.

After a recent auction, she sent her husband to go check out the unit she won and bring back what was inside. That's when he made an unexpected discovery.

"He came across the medal case," said Maybury. "He knew immediately it was a medal and so he opened it and just was floored."

Inside the case was a purple heart.   

"Everybody just sort of flocked around," said Maybury. "There are so many avid collectors out there, you could sell it right now. People wanted to buy it right then and there."

But when Maybury started selling antiques, she told herself that she would never sell any family photos, documents or other personal items she came across. Instead, she would try to return those items to their owners.

"Years ago, my home was burglarized and I lost precious things that meant a lot to me," she said. "It was important to me to give [this medal] back."

Fortunately for her, the medal came with a picture and a name. It was awarded to Clifford Audinet, who was killed in action in 1945.

When she and her husband searched his name on the Internet, they discovered a book had been written about him by his son, who was only 3 years old when his father died.

"We then reached out to the son on Facebook and confirmed that it was, in fact, his father and it was, in fact, his father's medal," said Maybury. "And he was so grateful that we had found it and were willing to give it back."

It turns out, he'd been searching for the medal for years. He believes a relative who lived in Texas had it before it ultimately ended up in the storage unit.

The Mayburys overnighted the medal to him in California.

"It felt really good," said Maybury. "I'm glad we found him."

NBC 5 attempted to contact Audinet's son for comment, but was unable to reach him.

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