Original Purple Heart documents awarded to a World War II soldier from Buffalo were presented to his family Saturday by Congressman Brian Higgins.
Corporal Henry Mazurkiewicz served in the Pacific during the war. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese and forced to take part in the Bataan death march. Mazurkiewicz died in captivity in May 1942.
The US Postal Service discovered the original documents several months ago and enlisted Higgins' help in finding surviving family members.
"This was a genuine community effort to honor Western New York hero, Corporal Henry Mazurkiewicz," Higgins said. "The Buffalo Post Office pursued the rightful home for the Purple Heart certificate, the media helped to spread the word and a number of people, including those with interest and expertise in genealogy, came forward with information to help solve this World War II mystery."
The Purple Heart medal and certificate issued 75 years ago were finally presented to nieces of Mazurkiewicz -- Jackie Young, Holly Proper, Kim Cuddihy, Nancy Stonebraker & Judy Friel.
Higgins also presented the family with a framed certificate from President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1944 honoring the memory of Corporal Henry Mazurkiewicz, which reads:
“… He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die so that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives, and through it, he lives — in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.”
(Signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt”