DES MOINES, Iowa — Norman Davis IV was on his way to an appointment in Des Moines when he passed a panhandler selling a Bronze Star military award that was allegedly found in a dumpster.

Davis bought the award and was determined to find the rightful owner.

“He told me that he found it in a dumpster when he was dumpster diving. I looked at it as the monetary value the man was trying to place on it was nothing compared to whoever owns this Bronze Star,” Davis said.

The Bronze Star is the fourth-highest award a U.S. military service member can achieve. Unfortunately, the award does not come with any engravings or serial numbers to help identify who it belongs to.

However, along with the Bronze Star Award were medal service ribbons, which are awarded for specific accomplishments in the military. These ribbons give crucial clues in narrowing down who the award may belong to.

Karl Lettow, the Communications Director for the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs said that the Army has no official process for returning lost medals to veterans, although they can file to have them replaced.

Lettow was able to identify the service ribbons.

“In the box that we had the Bronze Star was the highest one and there was also an Army Commendation Medal, Southeast Asia Service Medal, and a National Defense Ribbon,” Lettow said.

Based on the service ribbons, the Bronze Star likely belongs to a Vietnam War veteran.

If you believe that you know who the Bronze Star belongs to, reach out to