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Army Vet Gets Reward—80 Years Later

In June 2022, 97-year-old William Kellerman finally got the medal the army failed to give him 80 years earlier. Mr. Kellerman was 18 years old when he was drafted late in 1943. On June 6, 1944, he and thousands of other soldiers huddled on war ships as the first wave of Allied troops launched themselves into the shores of Normandy. Five days later, it was his turn to dodge German fire while running up Utah Beach.

German troops captured Kellerman. They moved him to a building that held about 80 prisoners of war. One night, Kellerman escaped. After a French family gave him new clothes, he walked and biked nearly 600 miles, picking up food where he could from French farmers, Army records show. Back home, his mother and sister feared the worst. They had received a hand-delivered letter from the U.S. Army telling them he was listed as missing as of July 22, 1944.

But instead of sending him home, his captain put him back into combat. He was part of the force that took Chames, France, and in April 1945 was hit by sniper fire in the hand and the leg. Mr. Kellerman was being treated for his wounds in an Army hospital when the war officially ended. He served until 1946, the Army said.

But despite all his incredible adventures, Kellerman never got recognized by the army—until recently. In June 2022 he received the Prisoner of War Medal and the Purple Heart long denied him. An Army spokesman said, “The Army is conducting this ceremony now to correct this unfortunate oversight.”

For Mr. Kellerman, the late-in-life recognition is an unexpected gift. “I feel like I’m coming out of the shadows and into the sunlight,” he said.

Possible Preaching Angles:

Justice; Hope; Heaven; Reward —Sometimes our good deeds are not recognized for a long time, or even in this life, but God will reward our faithfulness.

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