Purple Heart found in Calif. returned to Texans

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Purple Heart medals (AP Photo)

Purple Heart medals (AP Photo)

TYLER, Texas (AP) – A 1941 Pearl Harbor victim’s Purple Heart found along a California road has been returned to his East Texas family thanks to a teacher and his students.

Ken Hooper is a history and archives instructor at Bakersfield High School in Bakersfield, Calif. Hooper was on hand Tuesday in Tyler for the presentation to survivors of Robert Bates.

Kris Wilson of Edom says the medal will help her uncle’s memory live on.

Relatives say the USS Arizona sailor’s Purple Heart was likely given to his mother but lost after she died in 1945. The medal was found last month by a trucker near a Veterans of Foreign War Post in Bakersfield.

Hooper’s students doing computer research also learned some casualty lists wrongly spelled Robert Bates’ first name – as Tobert.

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