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Sister of WWII soldier gets his long-lost Purple Heart, flag

WESTFIELD, N.J. — A 95-year-old woman whose brother was killed during World War II has received his long-lost Purple Heart and the flag that was used at his burial.

The Purple Hearts Reunited nonprofit organization presented the medal to Mildred Stotzer during a ceremony in her room at a retirement home Wednesday in Westfield.

Stotzer's brother, Master Sgt. Frederick Boelzle, enlisted in the Army in September 1939. He was assigned to Service Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

Boelzle was killed in action in Belgium in December 1944 and was buried in a military cemetery there. The military awards and decorations he received included the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

An anonymous donor sent the Purple Heart and Boelzle's burial flag to Purple Hearts Reunited, which has returned medals and artifacts to more than 350 families and museums.

"These medals deserve to be with the family member, not with a personal collection out there, not lost to some junk shop," Purple Hearts Reunited founder Zac Fike said. "They need to be in a home of honor."

Stotzer thanked Fike for bringing the Purple Heart and the flag.

"That's wonderful," she told him.

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