Colorado Man Who Found Purple Heart Under Bus Bench Seeks Rightful Owner

A man in a suburb of Denver hopes to find the rightful owner of a Purple Heart.

— -- A man outside Denver who found a Purple Heart medal at a bus stop hopes to find the rightful owner of the military honor -- but his search for the correct medal recipient hasn't been easy.

"The actual box caught my eye, sitting under the two bench legs," McDermott, of Thornton, Colorado, told ABC News. "I initially thought it was a biker’s wallet or a lady’s hand purse because of the design on the box. When I reached for it, I realized ... it was a Purple Heart."

"The way it was positioned looked like it had been placed there and not just dropped," McDermott said. "The majority of the box was pushed up under the bench and you could just see the corner. It might have been just placed there and just dropped and kicked."

When he opened the box, the warehouse worker said he immediately recognized it as a Purple Heart medal. When he got to work, he asked his supervisor, a Marine veteran, if it looked real.

"He said, 'It's definitely real and somebody's going to be missing it,'" McDermott said.

He started researching the name of the school, Peterson School, listed on a tassel with the medal, but found multiple schools by that name in different states. "Class of 1940" was written on another tassel.

McDermott's father took the story to a local radio station, and ABC affiliate KMGH covered the story Wednesday.

Medals not given posthumously do not have a name engraved in them unless the recipient gets engraving individually. If a recipient asks for a replacement, then the replacement will have an engraving.

"You’re going to have to take their word for it," he said.

The number of people who have received a Purple Heart is anywhere between 1.8 million to 2 million people since the award was initiated in 1932 because the government doesn't have an exact database.