BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — For the second time in less than a year, a Bakersfield Gold Star mother has found herself on a mission to reunite a war medal with the family of a deceased military veteran.
The World War II-era prisoner of war medal was found this month at a garage sale in Buttonwillow. While it remains unclear how the medal ended up at the garage sale, someone turned it in to the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery, where Karen Galyan took the lead to get the medal back to its owner.
The special decoration, awarded to James Hubert Davis, is presented to U.S. servicemen and women who were held as prisoners of war. Military records show Davis, who was born in Fresno in 1918 and registered for the military in 1940, was a prisoner of war held by the Japanese Military at the Hiroshima POW camp #4 — a camp notorious for torture and terrible conditions. Davis survived it all.
“Some of these [prisoners} that came out [of the camp] were literally skin and bone,” Galyan said. “So for this gentleman to have gotten out of the hellhole and to have been given this medal is just heroic.”
Davis died in El Paso in 1976 and is buried at Fort Bliss, but for much of his life, he listed a PO Box in Oildale as his residence. Now, a few months after Galyan took it upon herself to successfully return a lost Purple Heart medal to the family of a World War II soldier, she is looking for Davis’ relatives in hopes of reuniting the medal.
“He was handed this medal by our government and then went about his way. And now this medal needs to about its way and get home,” she concluded.
Anyone with information about living relatives is asked to contact Galyan on social media.