State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced his Office’s Unclaimed Property Division will host a special, first-of-its-kind ceremony Thursday, July 14, at 10 a.m. at the Culture Center in Charleston to return lost or abandoned military medals and memorabilia to their rightful owners, veterans and their families.
The medals and memorabilia had been turned over to the Office’s Unclaimed Property Division after being determined to be abandoned in safe deposit boxes. The State Treasurer’s Office often receives safe deposit box contents – which occasionally include military memorabilia – as unclaimed property after the owner or their spouse pass away and surviving family members are unaware their relative stored items in one.
During this year’s legislative session, Treasurer Moore proposed to legislators several changes to improve the state’s Unclaimed Property Act, including reforms that now allow the Office to directly return these types of items to veterans and their families, after the claim has been processed and owner verified, saving them the hassle of first having to settle unpaid bills and paperwork with banks.
“These items represent the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans, and I believe they should be handled with the dignity and respect they deserve,” Treasurer Moore said.
“Under our old unclaimed property laws, families would have to go through a lengthy process to settle with banks and notarize paperwork before they could be sent the items through the mail,” Treasurer Moore said. “Thanks to the changes passed in the most recent legislative session, we can now return these items directly to the families and handle them with the honor they deserve.”
House Bill 4511, passed during the 2022 Regular Session, made several updates to streamline and modernize the West Virginia Unclaimed Property Act. One update improved the process for claiming abandoned safe deposit box contents that have been turned over to the state.
Under the previous law, when property was left in a safe deposit box, the owner had to go to the bank and settle their fees and obtain a notarized verification to submit to the State Treasurer’s Office before the claim could be approved and property returned.
House Bill 4511 now allows the State Treasurer’s Office’s Unclaimed Property Division to directly return these contents to the owner or heirs and settle fees with the bank for them, reducing the hassle and streamlining the process.
Thursday’s ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and feature a display of the memorabilia as well as photographs of the veterans who had received the honors. U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador of West Virginia Johnnie D. Ross and the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, Major General William E. Crane, will join Treasurer Moore to speak at the ceremony. Colors will be posted by the Civil Air Patrol’s Charleston Composite Squadron.
The ceremony will honor 13 veterans from various branches of the military who served in various wars ranging from World War II to Vietnam. Twelve of the veterans have already passed away, and their families will be receiving their medals and memorabilia on their behalf.
The event will be livestreamed on the Treasurer’s Office’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WVTreasury.
A reception to honor the veterans and their families will immediately follow the ceremony.