TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In honor of National Medal of Honor Day, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced, ‘Operation Return the Valor,’ a statewide initiative to further honor those who serve in our armed forces. The initiative’s first mission will be to find owners or heirs of nearly 40 medals of veterans left in forgotten safety deposit boxes and sent to the state’s unclaimed property program. The medals include decorations such as Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, and Distinguished Flying Crosses. CFO Patronis needs help from local communities to find these veterans and their families, so they can be reunited with the honors they received during service.
Governor Ron DeSantis said, “As a veteran and as Governor, I believe it is our job to heed the call and find ways we can reach out to veterans proactively. Programs like Operation Return the Valor make a difference in the lives of our veterans and ensure that these great symbols of accomplishment and sacrifice are rightfully returned to these amazing men and women who served so honorably in our armed forces. Our heroes earned these medals through blood, sweat, and tears in defending our great nation and I look forward to continuing in this mission to honor our veterans.”
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Florida is the most veteran-friendly state in the nation, with more than 1.5 million veterans living in our state, and we have a duty to stay committed to the men and women who have selflessly served our country. Operation Return the Valor’s goal is to pay tribute to our military community and the first mission is to get these medals back where they belong. These medals represent sacrifices made during military service and it’s important to reunite veterans with their earned decorations.”
Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director Danny Burgess said, “As a state, we must continue to honor and fight for Florida’s veterans. These former servicemembers dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom and we can’t fail them. I applaud CFO Patronis for his continued support of our former men and women in uniform.”
Under CFO Patronis’ leadership, the unclaimed property program has returned more than $575.6 million to Florida residents and businesses, breaking the previously held record for the same time-period by more than $45 million during the program’s 58-year history.
The names of medal owners identified in ‘Operation Return the Valor’ include:
• Earl R. Johnson
• Dina R. Howard
• John Woska
• Richard Anderson
• Charles Conklin
• Jean Glaser
• John J. Koss
• Leah Eddington
• Martha G. Perfetti
• Richard Stephens
• Virgil Rice
The safety deposit boxes that contain medals are in the names listed above, but these may not be the recipients or heirs. It’s CFO Patronis’ goal to find rightful owners and return these medals to their homes. Visit www.fltreasurehunt.gov to check for accounts that the unclaimed property program may be holding onto for you or your business. Per Florida law, the account holder must submit a claim form to claim an account.