Nonprofit claims to have found Medal of Honor recipient's family

Civil War soldier's relatives thankful for return of medal

ORLANDO, Fla. – A military nonprofit organization said Wednesday that it found the living relatives of a Civil War soldier News 6 first told you about Monday. 

A couple of house flippers in Orlando reached out to News 6 after finding a Medal of Honor inside a home they purchased and planned to renovate.

Within minutes of the story airing, people from across the county began to call and email information about soldier Mark Wood.

Col. Zachariah Fike with Purple Hearts Reunited said that he located Wood's third-generation nephew and fourth-generation niece.

Kathy Tafel said that she received a call from Fike, telling her that her distant relative's medal had been found.

"This (is a) Medal of Honor that has been found in some house that apparently I'm connected to, and he's looking for my dad," Tafel said.

Fike said that it's believed Wood's Medal of Honor was one of the first two-dozen ever awarded by then-President Abraham Lincoln. He said the award was given for his role in what's now known as the Great Locomotive Chase, where Union soldiers attempted to cause damage along a Southern railway, to halt Confederate soldiers.

"Because of their heroic actions, he was awarded (the) nation's highest decoration under Abraham Lincoln, one of our most prestigious presidents that our nation's ever seen," Fike said.

Tafel said she is thankful for the couple in Orlando who found the medal and chose to search for a proper home for it.

"Amazing, amazing heartfelt thanks to the people who found it, for wanting to find out what the story of it is," Tafel said. "And, that's something to be cherished, and I hope that anybody else who finds treasure like this does the same kind of thing."

The couple who found the medal and Wood's relatives, want the medal to be given to a museum.

About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.