Purple Heart mystery at Northport Memorial Day program

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 4:31 PM CDT
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NORTHPORT, Ala. (WBRC) - On this Memorial Day, a Tuscaloosa family is now searching for a family member of a World War II hero killed in battle. They are hoping to return his Purple Heart that was found during a yard sale. The search for the family could be worldwide.

Memorial Day inside Northport City Hall had all the reverence and solemnity of a soldier’s remembrance. The color guard, the guest speaker, and the lighting of candles to remember the very people who put it all on the line and never made it back home.

Memorial Day program in Northport.
Memorial Day program in Northport.(Source: Bryan Henry/WBRC)

One such story stood out the most. The story of Jake Poole, courtesy of Chasidy White of Tuscaloosa.

“This Purple Heart,” said Chasidy White of Tuscaloosa.

THE Purple Heart, the one White and her parents found just a few days ago at a yard sale, tucked away inside a shed.

“As my parents were going through the shed, they came across the Purple Heart, and with my dad being a Vietnam Veteran, he knew how important a Purple Heart was,” said White.

The name Jake Poole is inscribed on the back of it, a Tuscaloosa native, killed in action in the Battle of Bulge in January of 1945. Sgt. Jake Poole was 29 years old. White says she’s not clear how the medal ended up the shed, but she is sure of one thing - the school teacher has an assignment to find the nearest relative, and if that means going to Belgium where Poole is buried, so be it.

“I guess we’ll go to the cemetery in Belgium. They have a visitor’s center where they have photographs and information about every solider buried there,” said White.

White considers this search sacred work, and one she intends to honor in memory of Jake Poole, who died so long ago in a foreign land.

“To have a piece of history of someone who died for our country from right here in Tuscaloosa, and we need to always remember that,” said White.

And remember they did inside city hall, and later out front with a 21-gun salute and TAPS, remembering those who gave it up on the altar of freedom, including native son Jake Poole.

Chasidy White says based on her search, Sgt. Jake Poole was also awarded the Bronze Star posthumously.

Memorial Day program in Northport.
Memorial Day program in Northport.(Source: Bryan Henry/WBRC)

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