The descendants of Pvt. Thomas Kelly always knew the Irish immigrant received the Medal of Honor as a young soldier in the Spanish-American War.
His rescue of wounded comrades in July 1899 while under heavy enemy fire in Santiago, Cuba, is part of family lore.
But the tangible proof of Kelly’s valor, the medal itself, has been missing for decades. All that’s left is a 1973 certificate from the Department of Defense acknowledging the award.