Box of unclaimed World War I medals found in Kendall County

A box of unclaimed World War I medals has been found in Kendall County, and now officials are trying to make sure the medals get to the families of those long-ago heroes.

Kendall County Circuit Court Clerk Matthew Prochaska said he found the medals while working on digitizing court records from the 20th century. The medals were issued by the Kendall County Board in 1919 to all of the county’s veterans who served in World War I.

“It’s not uncommon for treasured military service honors to be left in boxes, only to be forgotten as generations pass, but it is very rare for the medals to be left in the original packaging in a court file,” Prochaska said in a statement.

Records show the medals were given to veterans or their families during a celebratory picnic on Sept. 25, 1919, at the old Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville.

The unclaimed medals were meant for these World War I veterans: Andrew Birkland, Paul Canniff, Harold R. Heap, Harry Holverson, William B. Johnson, Harvey L. Nelson, Chauncey I. Pecoy, Louis A. Sears, Louis P. Schultz, Arthur Sebby and Lewis H. Steward.

Prochaska encouraged residents to search the list to see if they recognize a name and also said his office is working with the Kendall County Veterans Assistance Commission and local historical societies to help locate the families of the veterans.

“Together, we can get these medals returned to the heroes who earned them,” Prochaska said. “As always, the Circuit Clerk’s Office thanks America’s military veterans for their service to their country.”

Kendall County Board Chair Matt Kellogg said the board would like to present the medals to the families either publicly or privately.

Descendants of the veterans have until June 30 to contact the Kendall County Circuit Clerk’s Office at 630-553-4183 or via email to

Any of the medals that remain unclaimed will be given to the Unclaimed Property Division of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office, which has an office that helps reunite medals with veterans or their family members.