Next week, his remains will be flown into Rochester and buried in a family plot in Ontario County. YNN spoke with the soldier's niece, who has never stopped looking for her uncle.
Karen DesCamp and her family have called Phelps home for many years.
But underneath was a sadness this family carried for three generations. The story of the 18 year old boy who never came back to this small Ontario County town.
"Not alot was talked about because it was such a sad, crushing blow to them," said Descamp.
George Conklin was a normal 17 year old living in the 1940's.
"He liked the ladies and the ladies liked him," said Descamp.
Not a big fan of school, Conklin decided to join the army in the midst of the Korean War and see the world. A year later, this telegram came.
"Has been missing in action in Korea since 3rd of December 1950," said Descamp.
But with the arrival of this purple heart, the family lost hope. Like many parents of those who died in the service, not being able to bury George took a great toll on Conklin's mother.
Before he died, Karen's father gave the army his DNA, just in case. When technology improved, that DNA was matched to remains of one of 32 Americans found in Korea and transferred to a lab in Hawaii. Two months ago, Karen got a call.
George Conklin died when he was 18 years old. Today he'd be 81 and is finally being brought home to be laid to rest right next to his parents.
"It would make the family very happy that they're all together again," said Descamp.
Conklin was killed in a two-day ambush. Out of 3,000 men, only 383 were fit for duty after the attack.
And after 53 years of waiting, closure comes for a Phelps family.