Precious reminders of the sacrifice of a World War II veteran shot down over Germany were returned to his family in Virginia, thanks to a South Carolina couple who found them at a yard sale and went out of their way for strangers.
Lt. Tom Comi was a navigator in the Army Air Corps, the predecessor to the modern Air Force. He was shot down and wounded over Germany in July 1944 and didn’t survive as a prisoner of war. But before he died, Lt. Comi asked for one of his brothers’ wives to name a child after him.
Seventy years later, the medals Lt. Comi earned, including the Purple Heart, wound up in a yard sale in South Carolina two weeks ago, when a retired Marine and his wife bought them, tracked down Lt. Comi’s family in Sterling and put the medals in the mail.
"I got the package, and when we opened it up, I was shocked to find out what they had sent," said Lt. Comi’s grandnephew, also named Tom Comi.
"I'm quite impressed with his career because I didn't know about the Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Flying Cross — and the air medals are just amazing,” said Lt. Comi’s nephew, who is also named Tom Comi. “I spent 21 years in the military myself, and achievements that are rewarded are special."
The Comis want to meet the couple who found the medals.
“We can’t say enough about the effort they made,” Lt. Comi’s grandnephew said.
And they want to find Lt. Comi’s grandson, who they believe should keep the medals.
"We found out he was in the Marine Corps,” Lt. Comi’s nephew said. “I don't know where he is now, so we'll do our best to find him."