ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After a landmine blew off his jaw in 1945, Chester Caparco spent many of his remaining days dressed like D i c k Tracy, wearing wide-brimmed hats and pulling his jacket collars up high to cover his cheeks.

Those who did get a look at his face knew that this was a man who had given much for his country. And after his death 20 years ago, his family continued to remember him as a stern but proud man who never complained about what he had lost.

For a time, though, what they did forget about were his war medals, the emblems of his sacrifice. In service of the things he believed in, Caparco had given a very real piece of himself, and the medals were what he had been given in exchange.

For two decades, they had been gone, having been discarded shortly after his death. But then, somehow, Caparco's bronze star, purple heart, and a half dozen other service medallions showed up at a Webster, N.Y., auction house last year.

A man bought them, and started searching for clues about the longtime Rochester resident's life and family.

On Wednesday, the long-missing medals were returned to Chester Caparco's daughter.


Veteran's WWII medals returned after 20 years