Bronze marker finally makes its way to Indiana grave of World War II veteran

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Update (August 22, 2017) -- The bronze marker was added to Sorrell's grave this week.

RUSH COUNTY, Ind. -- A bronze military marker is going to its rightful home, a place it should have been a little more than 21 years ago.

Connersville native, Edward Sorrell passed away on the Fourth of July in 1996 and was buried nearby at Hopewell Cemetery in the southeastern corner of Rush County. Sorrell served in the Army during World War II but the bronze plate that lists his name, rank and when he served never made it to his resting place.

The reason to why the plate never got to Sorrell's resting place is still a mystery. In fact, it seemingly was gone forever until a Richmond man, Kenneth Stevens, was helping a friend clean out an old car.

"He cleaned out the trunk and found the bronze grave plate in the back of the trunk, buried underneath some things," Stevens said. "It was brand new, still in the box.”

Stevens is a rider with the Indiana Patriot Guard, which is made up of Hoosiers, most of them ride motorcycles to show their respect for veterans and to honor them.

Stevens made it his mission to find where the marker belonged. He called John Petro, who is the senior ride captain for the east central region of the Indiana Patriot Guard. Petro recommended Stevens call a local funeral home to find where Sorrell was buried and any family members.

Stevens eventually met up with Petro in June and filled him in on how his search was going.

"Ken showed up and told me he found the headstone and I asked him what the last name was again," Petro said. "He told me Sorrell and that he was from Connersville. I told him I knew some Sorrell's from the Connersville area so I called Jesse who has also ridden with us. I just asked him, do you have an uncle or relative named Ed Sorrell who was in World War II, and he said yeah, that was my great uncle.”

Jesse Sorrell Jr. met Stevens and Petro Tuesday at Moster Mortuary in Rushville Tuesday to share his memories of his great uncle. He said he remembers being a pallbearer when his uncle passed away due to lung cancer, but hadn't paid much attention to the headstone when he visited it.

"You just assume those things are taken care of," Sorrell said.

Edward's wife likely was trying to find the marker, but she passed away in 1998 and that's when the search likely stopped.

Stevens' discovery changed that. He gave it to Jesse and his father, Jesse Sorrell Sr. last month on Father's Day.

“On Memorial Day, when they place the flags, now hopefully he’ll get a flag on his grave," Sorrell said.

Placing the bronze plate on Sorrell's resting place will come with a cost. However, a good portion of the money has been donated already by the Indiana Patriot Guard. The headstone in place needs moved to accommodate the plate and where Edward's wife is buried before the bronze plate can be placed with it.

Sorrell Sr. knew the most about Edward, but said his uncle didn't speak about the war often. He said Edward served in Europe and had to spend time in a hospital while overseas. In fact, Edward was in the same hospital that his brother was in and both were there at the same time. Sorrell Sr. said one brother was recovering from pneumonia while the other was injured from shrapnel, but couldn't remember which solider had which medical issue.

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