Following a brief ceremony Thursday, a Purple Heart medal found by a local man 27 years ago in an attic started its journey back to its owner, a 67-year-old Vietnam veteran in Georgia.

Richard Hicks passed the medal — earned by William Viles for being wounded in combat on Nov. 28, 1968 — to The Dalles native Mike Elston, who served in the same U.S. Army 1st Cavalry unit as Viles, but did not know him.

Elston, himself a Purple Heart recipient, told Hicks, “I would like to commend you for your care of this medal.”

Elston said Viles had “earned this medal with his own blood and service to this country. On behalf of all veterans and especially 1st Cavalry, thank you so much. We’ll do everything to make sure he receives it in a way he’s supposed to get it.”