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Reuniting Bronze Star with Oregon Veteran's family

Reuniting Bronze Star with Oregon Veteran's family

 Content Editor

February 4, 2022

Treasurer Read

Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program mostly contains money – millions of dollars that we return to Oregonians through But the program holds some meaningful treasures as well, including and especially military medals and ribbons.

Early in his first term, Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read traveled to Umatilla to participate in the Tribal Flag Day celebration - and to return a long-lost Bronze Star to the granddaughter of a World War II veteran, Willard Nanegos.

At the time, the medal was in the custody of the Oregon Department of State Lands, which then oversaw the state’s Unclaimed Property Program. As a member of the State Land Board, Treasurer Read took an interest in how veterans’ commendations were held and how the state worked to reunite them with those that received them or their heirs.

When Treasurer Read discovered that the vault included a Bronze Star, he asked his staff to track down the rightful owner of the medal. The medal had been left in a safe-deposit box with a newspaper clipping that identified Willard Nanegos as the recipient, so staff had a name to begin their search.

Soon the daughter, grandson, and granddaughter of Nanegos were found in Mission, Oregon. All are members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. With help from tribal leadership, the Treasurer was able to participate in the Flag Day celebration, return the medal to the Nanegos family, and honor the sacrifice and service of their father and grandfather.

Since that ceremony and the reunification of the medal, Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program has transferred to Oregon State Treasury, where staff continue to work tirelessly to return property to its owners and their heirs.

Today, Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program holds more than $773 million in unclaimed assets – including military medals, uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, and more. Treasury keeps that property safe until the rightful owners come forward to claim it or staff can locate them.

In addition to our main search engine,, where you can see if the state is holding money for you, we also have a site dedicated to highlighting military medals and insignia:

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