Local WWII veteran gets Bronze Star
Posted August 21, 2011
Updated August 22, 2011
Smithfield, N.C. — An 85-year-old World War II veteran from Selma finally received the Bronze Star Medal he earned more than six decades ago, thanks to a Moore County nonprofit.
The Veteran's Legacy Foundation helps veterans and their families apply for military awards that were earned but never received.
In a ceremony on the steps of the Johnston County Courthouse Sunday, the foundation did just that for retired Army Staff Sgt. Willard B. Hinnant, who served in a division that was famous for the Battle of the Bulge and storming the beaches of Normandy.
Hinnant said the ceremony meant a lot to him.
"We haven't been forgotten; that's the big thing," he said.
The Veteran's Legacy Foundation has tracked down historical records to award long-overdue medals to more than 30 veterans. John Elskamp, the organization's leader, said the process never loses its excitement.
"When it finally comes up to a ceremony like this, it makes it all worth it," he said.