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Local man returns lost military medals to family thousands of miles away with hopes someone will do the same for him

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BLACKFOOT — A local man has been on a mission to find his dad’s lost military medals, and although the search hasn’t been easy, he’s made sure to help others along the way.

Dave Krumenacker, 62, collects a variety of military items, mainly from the World War II era. His dad was in the Army during that war, and Krumenacker believes his service influenced him to start collecting the now historic items at a young age.

Krumenacker’s dad, who died in 1995 at the age of 72, was wounded twice in the war and received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals. But his medals went missing sometime during the 70s.

“The Purple Heart is given for a soldier that is either injured or killed in combat and the Bronze Star can be given for bravery … in combat or for military service,” Krumenacker explained. “(My dad) never said much about the war so most everything I’ve learned has been after he died.”

Over the years, Krumenacker has kept an eye on auction after auction in hopes of finding his dad’s two medals that hold a special place in his family’s heart. He recently discovered the same medals he’d been on the lookout for were up for auction in Pocatello. With hopes they were his dad’s, he bid $60 and won them.

As he looked over the medals, he realized they didn’t belong to his dad. Another soldier’s name — Joseph G. Kime III — was engraved on the backs. Krumenacker immediately began researching online any information he could find about the soldier who was killed in action. Without hesitation, he knew he needed to get the medals back to the family they belong to.

“I found the name (on the medal) and that led me to the wife who had died and it showed a funeral home (online),” he mentioned. “I got in contact with the funeral home and left my information and the (soldier’s) son emailed me.”

Purple Heart and Bronze Star belonging to Joseph Klime
The Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals with the soldier’s name engraved on it. | Courtesy Dave Krumenacker

Joseph Kime, the soldier’s son, told EastIdahoNews.com he was shocked Krumenacker found his dad’s medals and wanted to return them.

“He told me about his search for his dad’s medals and would hope someone would do the same for him,” Kime recalled. “I have been in North Carolina for over 20 years. My mom lived in Oregon and Idaho for a while, which I assume is why the medals were in that part of the country.”

Kime said his dad was a captain in Desert Storm. In March 1991, a supply run was needed for his unit along the main supply route. Kime and his commander flipped a coin to decide who would lead the convoy. Kime lost and led a convoy to Kuwait City on March 11, 1991. During the convoy, his military vehicle hit a land mine that exploded. He died of his wounds two days later on March 13, 1991, in Saudi Arabia, at the age of 38.

Kime, who was eight years old at the time of his dad’s death, said he’s been in contact through the years with soldiers who served with his dad who said he was a “great friend and soldier.”

“To me he was the best dad and hearing their stories makes me proud of the man he was,” he said. “I have three kids that I am thankful I can one day pass these medals on to them to remember their grandfather’s heroism and his ultimate sacrifice.”

The Klime family with military medals 1
The Kime family with the medals Dave Krumenacker returned to them. Joseph Kime V is Kime’s son who is named after his grandpa and is the one holding the medals in the picture. | Courtesy Joseph Kime
War room at the Krumenacker home
The war room at the Krumenacker home where Dave Krumenacker’s dad’s military items live. The Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals seen pictured are replacements and not the originals. | Courtesy Dave Krumenacker
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