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11.10.2022: Treasurer Dave Young Wants to Reunite Veterans with Their Unclaimed Military Medals

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For Immediate Release
November 10, 2022

Sheena Kadi

Communications Director & Public Information Officer

Treasurer Dave Young Wants to Reunite Veterans with Their Unclaimed Military Medals for Veterans Day

COLORADO: State Treasurer Dave Young is urging veterans and their families to search for unclaimed military medals, paperwork, and other service items.

“Our veterans, service members, and their families have sacrificed so much. Helping them find their unclaimed property is one small way we can thank them for their dedicated service to our country,” Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young

“Coming from a military family, it’s extra important to me to get this property back to our service members and veterans,” said Bianca Gardelli, Director of the Unclaimed Property Division. “Veterans likely have a higher percentage of unclaimed property, since service members tend to move more frequently than civilians and are consequently more likely to have a check mailed to an old address or have money forgotten at an insurance company, utility, or bank in a state they have since left.”

The Great Colorado Payback, by Colorado statue, does not sell or destroy military decorations or awards. Military items that are being held for the rightful owners or heirs include:

  • Bronze Star Medal: awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
  • Purple Heart Medal: awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after 5 April 1917, with the U.S. military. It is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members.
  • Medal of Honor: awarded to recognize American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardians and coast guardsmen who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.
  • Navy Cross: is the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps' second-highest military decoration awarded for sailors and marines who distinguish themselves for extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force.
  • Service log books.
  • Flight log books.
  • Discharge papers.
  • Presidential Letters of Appreciation.

Currently, the State Treasurer’s Office has more than $1 billion in unclaimed property to return to people across the state. Millions of dollars are transferred to the program annually by companies that cannot locate the owners. Here are just a few Colorado residents with unclaimed funds that made our list:

The Great Colorado Payback
Last fiscal year, The Great Colorado Payback returned almost $50 million to nearly 55,000 claimants through our Unclaimed Property Division. To simplify the claims process, a pilot program which proactively returns funds was started, returning $4.1 million to 13,700 rightful owners without requiring additional paperwork for identification purposes. The average claim returned last year was $1,832. 

Even businesses lose track of property and payments, occasionally resulting in unclaimed property which can be claimed. Corporations, municipalities, schools, nonprofits, hospitals, and small businesses are also listed among the many individuals whose assets are held in trust by  the State. 

Money or property turned over to the State Treasury for safekeeping is held for the owner or heir of the account and there are no time limits for filing a claim. The Colorado State Treasurer currently maintains a list of over 1.7 million names of individuals, businesses, schools, and others for whom property is available, including over $960 million in cold, hard cash. To date, the Great Colorado Payback has reunited over $600 million to their rightful owners.

Go to to search for unclaimed property for individuals, nonprofits, and businesses.

Unclaimed Property Laws
Unclaimed Property laws began in the United States as a consumer protection program and have evolved to protect not only the owners, but also their heirs and estates. Unclaimed property is tangible or intangible property that has had no activity for a specific period of time. Unclaimed property includes, but is not limited to, abandoned financial assets such as stocks and dividends, mutual funds, checking and savings accounts, unpaid wages, securities, life insurance payouts, uncashed checks that are without activity for a certain period of time, as well as the contents of safe deposit boxes for which the rent has been expired for at least five (5) years. It does not include real estate or vehicles.

The entity holding the original obligation is required to make every effort to contact the owner and establish activity. If they are not able to make contact, that asset is reported to the state of the owner’s last known address.

Once the property is in the custody of the state of Colorado, outreach begins through a variety of means including emails, mailings, the Great Colorado Payback website, advertisements, and local media coverage.