By Mike Lesko

When Norm Vendeland of Munroe Falls accepted a Purple Heart medal in August on behalf of his late brother, Al, it had 67 years since Al Vendeland died at age 19 in 1944 while serving in World War II.

For the family, though, it had been worth the wait to receive the Purple Heart and other medals.

At the ceremony at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Norm Vendeland thanked Laura Pechaitis, a constituent services liaison for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, for helping to make the medals a reality.

Others surely may be interested in obtaining medals and records for a fallen veteran in their family, too.

"Sen. Brown and his office help veterans and their families obtain all military medals and military records, not just Purple Heart medals," said Allison Preiss, Sen. Brown's press secretary.

She said this year, Sen. Brown's office will have helped more than 500 Ohio veterans and families obtain medals and/or records.

The Purple Heart medal is unique because it is only awarded if a person is injured during hostile activity, she said, and that injury must require medical treatment.

For more information about the Purple Heart medal, go to the website at:

"Veterans of all wars may request their medals," Preiss said. "Some never received them when they were discharged, and some have misplaced them. If the veteran is deceased or the servicemember was killed while on active duty, a member of his or her immediate family can apply."

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