During the 2019-2020 school year, DME interns had the opportunity to support the mission of the CAWW2 Veterans Recognition Project. This program is a part of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance’s effort to locate next of kin for deceased service members that are eligible to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. This honor recognizes deceased Veterans for “superior deeds and achievements that have enriched U.S. history or the world with a commemoration to historical events or sites.” Interns applied their research skills to locating possible next of kin for service members who gave their lives in service of their country.

Determined interns were resourceful as they attempted the difficult task of locating next of kin with limited information. Their search included navigating various websites such as:

Ancestry
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
FamilySearch
The USGenWeb Project – State-by-State Genealogy Records
Find a Grave
My Heritage
WikiTree

The DME intern team cast a broad net, utilizing other public information websites, newspaper archives and social media platforms during their investigations. Some interns even took the initiative to reach out to local businesses, made phone calls and sent emails to possible connections who may have information regarding the deceased Veterans.

As a result, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Kurt Chew-Een Lee was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal as of Aug. 1, 2020, with support from the research provided by the DME intern team. At this time, the award for U.S. Army Veteran Lew Y. June is pending. 

Details for this story are hyperlinked to original sources, including the United States Mint.

Writer: Michaela Yesis
Editor: Aristeo Hernandez