Lillington, N.C. — Ninety-four years after a North Carolina soldier was wounded during World War I, he was awarded a Purple Heart medal on Monday.
Pfc. Noah Bullock was shot in the hand on Sept. 29, 1918, while fighting in France, authorities said, but he never received the recognition that soldiers wounded in battle are usually given.
"When I started all this, I didn't expect all this," a delighted Doris Bullock Gardner said after receiving her father's medals, which also included the World War Service Medal from the state.
Gardner, 85, questioned the lack of medals for Bullock's service, and research by the nonprofit Veterans Legacy Foundation, which works to make sure veterans get the awards they have earned, substantiated that he had earned a Purple Heart.
"I just never dreamed it would be like this. It's so thrilling, so unthinkable," she said. "I wish we could have done this when he was living."
Bullock, who came home from the war to rear three children and operate a farm and a grocery store in Wade, died in 1969.
“He was a good fellow. He would give anybody the shirt off his back if they needed it,” Gardner said.
Col. Randy Powell, commander of the North Carolina National Guard’s 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, a descendant of Bullock's 30th Infantry Division, and 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers presented the medals to Gardner during a Veterans Days observance at the Harnett County Veterans Memorial Park.
"For somebody to be thought of and be recognized like he was today, it means a whole lot to the family," grandson Ted Gardner said.
Also Monday, Pfc. Trevor Adkins' name was added to the granite marker in the memorial park. The Spring Lake native was killed near Kabul, Afghanistan, in July by an improvised explosive device.
"We can remember when he was in elementary school, running around collecting bugs and eating them because he said, 'Well, that's what Special Forces do – they eat bugs,'" said his mother, Carolyn Haines.
Adkins, a 2010 Overhills High School graduate, was assigned to the 978th Military Police Company, 93rd Military Police Battalion from Fort Bliss, Texas.