Garden City man finds, returns long-lost war medals to veteran's family

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It was a simple glance at an online auction site that made Kevin Futo take a second look.
"They had the auction listed as military pins and medals," said Futo, from Garden City. "I first was blown away that they had a Purple Heart."

Futo won the auction out of Belleville and after taking a look at a few of the medals, he was particularly interested in the Purple Heart.

"I couldn't believe that the soldier's name was on the Purple Heart. I never knew they did that," said Futo.

Jumping onto his computer to do some research, Futo found an obituary on for 85-year-old Philip Morris Brooker of Virginia. Brooker, a native of Limestone, Maine, had served in World War II and Korea.

"It kind of choked me up reading this in the obituary," he said. "And here I am holding it in my hand. I knew right then and there, I had to track these people down."

Futo sent messages to Brooker's son, Michael and his granddaughter, Cindy, Thursday night. He received an excited, and very prompt response. Futo then spoke with Philip's son on the phone.
"He was extremely happy for me to reach out to him, he sounded like he was shaking," he said.

Futo learned that the veteran's medals had disappeared and, that his son, Michael Brooker, who was still living in Maine, had been looking for them.

The rest of his father's military decorations were on display.
"He said the only thing missing was those medals," Futo said.

The next day he sent those medals in the mail.

"I wanted to get them out as soon as possible to make sure they got them by the Fourth of July," he said.

Michael Brooker says his father was a role model - forced to grow up fast, and even lied about his age to join the army.

"He ended up as a military police officer in occupied Japan at age 16," said Michael Brooker said.

Michael Brooker was thankful for Kevin Futo's heart of gold - as he returned his father's purple one.

"I think he's a fine young man for doing this, I can't thank him enough," Brooker said.

FOX 2: "What do you hope your father knows?"

"There are good people in the world," he said.