From the side of the road in Bakersfield to east Texas, a lost Purple Heart found by local veterans has finally been returned.
Tuesday a duo from Kern County personally delivered the medal to the family of its rightful owner.
After weeks of searching and a day of flying the Purple Heart is back in the hands of Robert Bates's family.
"What love, what duty, what devotion," said Dwight Bates, Bates's Cousin.
"They did above and beyond to make sure we got this medal today and my sister and I and my family are very thankful," said Mark Bates, Bates's nephew.
Last month the Purple Heart was found on the side of a road in front of a VFW in southeast Bakersfield.
With some help of some BHS students, their teacher Ken Hooper tracked down the owner navy sailor Robert Bates. He was killed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.
"He was 21 years old and he died for his country," said Kris Wilson, Bates's Niece.
Bates's niece never knew her uncle but as his last remaining relative now his medal belongs to her and her family.
"For that memory to be lost to our kids and our kids that have no way of even connecting to him and not know would be a tragedy," said Wilson.
It was flown 1,500 miles from Bakersfield to Tyler, Texas by Ken Hooper and Danny Sides from the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
"When you're in the service you're a brother no matter what happens you're always you're brother," said Sides.
According to Sides and Hooper, it was too important to be shipped in an envelope it had to be delivered by hand.
"Teachers get paid in strange ways this was payment in full," said Hooper.
The delivery team is expected to arrive home Wednesday night. We're told the Bates family will now display the medal at his nephew's home.