William Branley said a friend who knew he had some experience in genealogy, asked him if he could find the owner of a Purple Heart found on the street in Altha, Florida.
Purple Hearts are awarded for deaths and injuries in combat. The medal has engraved "Navy Chief Funner's Mate Andrew F. Ozment" on the back.
Its ribbon is dirty and torn and the pin missing, but the gold medal with purple lacquer center picturing George Washington still shines brightly.
A spokeswoman for the Navy Coastal Systems Station at Panama City Beach said the medal probably is from World War II or Korea.