70 years later, Toledo man receives Purple Heart
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Better late than never. A Toledo man finally receives his Purple Heart after being wounded in the Korean war.
We told you about Clarence Didion and his story in February. After a little digging all the pieces came together for the long-deserved honor.
Wednesday he officially became Purple Heart recipient Clarence A. Didion.
“Getting the jitters. I can’t believe it,” said Didion.
Didion earned the award back in 1951, when while stationed at a Korean outpost, he was injured by an enemy grenade. He was hit with shrapnel that was never removed because of its proximity to some nerves.
He was transferred to Japan for treatment. People back here in Toledo heard about the injuries documented in a Toledo Blade article from 1951. Now the whole country knows with this prestigious award.
“I don’t sleep. I dream about that place, Korea, lots of times. Hard to think you can still remember what goes on,” said Didion.
Turns out Didion was actually awarded a Purple Heart while in the hospital in Japan but he was never told and never received the actual award.
Didion was sent back to the states for another deployment but then sent home instead because of his injury.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s staff dug into his case in the last few weeks. Eventually they found his military release form, where it listed this Purple Heart award.
“Hard to believe, hard to believe,” said Didion.
“I feel honored and proud and happy that he got it after all these years,” said Didion’s friend Cindy Kirk.
13abc heard about this story from Kirk who runs an organization that brings meals to people who need them. She listened to Didion’s story and spoke up.
“It was a needed. He’s a veteran. Anybody that needs something, just speak up I saw the tears in his eyes and the hurt,” said Kirk.
They are tears of joy now as he proudly displays what he’s earned even if it is 70 years late. “I’m not disappointed. Not now,” said Didion.
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