State of Tennessee tries to get war medals to veterans

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The state of Tennessee is working to put war-time medals and other military declarations in the hands of the veterans who earned them or their surviving family members’ hands.

Since 2011, the Department of Treasury has taken and secured military medals as part of its unclaimed property division.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

They have around 30 medals, including Purple Hearts, World War II medals and dog tags found in abandoned safe deposit boxes in Tennessee banks.

The banks must wait for at least two years of a person not paying for the safe deposit box before they can drill them to get the contents.

Banks can then auction off the items inside and use the proceeds to pay any owed fees, but military medals are the exception and cannot be auctioned. Instead, they are turned over to the Department of Treasury.

Finding the rightful owner or their surviving family members can be difficult because the last known address is not always accurate, or in some cases, is not available.

In Tennessee, you can see if you or a loved one has unclaimed property by going to

If it says you have “safe deposit box contents,” then it is likely military medals.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

Also, the department suggests checking your name with common misspellings to see if anything comes up.

The department has around $789 million in unclaimed property that needs to be returned.

They had a record breaking year for the last fiscal year and processed around 41,000 claims.

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