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War medals discovered at Calgary thrift store keep local soldier’s memory alive

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An unexpected item found in a collection of donations given to a Calgary thrift store is keeping alive the memory of an Alberta war veteran.

The Goodwill location on Macleod Trail S.W. found several military service medals from the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War in a donation bin nearly two weeks ago.

Among the items were service medals from Drumheller-born soldier Berkeley Albert James Franklin, fondly remembered by the nickname "Bark" or "Badge" by close friends.

Franklin joined the Pacific Force on the West Coast in 1945 and retired as a chief warrant officer in 1970.

"It's just a piece of metal, but attached to these medals are stories and sacrifices that these men and women made for our country," said Cpl. Andrew Mullett, manager at the PPCLI Museum.

"This is definitely up there with the rarer donations. We now have about 50 donation items from Badge already, so these medals complete the set."

Daoud Abbasi, brand co-ordinator with Goodwill Industries of Alberta, says he was amazed to hear of these accomplishments Wednesday when he presented the medals to the PPCLI Regimental Museum and Archives.

He called this a "defining moment" for his organization to give back to history.

"As a group, we get treasures and so many donations coming into our doors, and finding these medals at one of our locations, we wanted to find the best home for it," he said.

"I personally think monumental achievements like this should be displayed for generations to come so that others can experience what it means to live in a country like Canada."

The medals themselves were identified as belonging to Franklin, thanks to some extra detective work from Goodwill brand ambassador, Anthony Lopez.

He was able to take photos of the medals and reverse image search them to trace them back to Franklin's regimental number.

"Finding inscriptions on the side of the medals of who they were awarded to was the best way for me to identify where they came from," he said.

"When I found out that there were materials at the PPCLI Museum from this individual, it was so amazing to find out that they came from a local hero. So seeing a unique part of Alberta's history and our country's history is incredible."

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