The state has 108 medals in its possession. (patries71/flickr)
By The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD - The state of Illinois is holding more than 100 lost or forgotten military medals in its vaults under the capitol and is trying to return them to the families of veterans.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is asking people to take a moment over Memorial Day weekend to see if they recognize the names on a list of veterans whose military honors are held by the state.
"What we have found in these lock boxes over the years are military medals that belong to individuals that may have put the medal in the box and then moved on to a nursing home or passed away and no one else knew about them," Rutherford said. "These are available to the family members of the warriors that earned them."
The 108 medals span more than a century of conflicts with one dating back to the 1898 Spanish-American War. There are Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars and a Navy Cross.
Banks eventually transfer the contents to the treasurer's office. Rutherford said that transfer usually occurs if no contact is made for at least five years.
The veterans' names can be found at www.treasurer.il.gov .
Zach Dietmeier contributed to this story. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.