A Valley veteran is fights for an honor he has been denied for more than 60 years.Martin Medellin saved the lives of 200 soldiers and was wounded himself in the process.KMPH's Ellina Abovian explains what his friends are now trying to do to get the U.S. Army to recognize his bravery.88-year-old World War II veteran Martin Medellin is fighting his last battle... the battle for his Purple Heart. "I lost all my friends now so it really means a lot to me to have that medal," said Medellin.Medellin says the Purple Heart represents what he bled and almost died for. "It really means a lot to me. I cannot talk too much because I want to cry. It really hurts me to not have it because I lost a lot of friends," said Medellin.Medellin says he was shot by a Nazi sniper in 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge.He says the bullet went through his shoulder and across the front of his throat, but spared him for a grander mission. Medellin's courage prevailed forcing him to get back up. With the lives of 200 soldiers at stake, he charged forward and removed the enemy threat. He was later awarded a Bronze and Silver Medal for his bravery by President Eisenhower.Medellin says he did it for his country but most importantly he did it for those who fought beside him. Now his friends are fighting for him, to get the Purple Heart he deserves. To do that, they need to get the United States Army to recognize Medellin's heroism.The problem is Medellin was treated by a field medic and not in a hospital. He also discovered a fire at a depository in St. Louis, MO destroyed the only records of his bravery.
His friends are now pleading their case in a letter addressed to Congressman Paul Cook, fighting to get their friend the medal and recognition he rightfully deserves.
"We all have the deepest respect for him. He is a hero and saving the lives of over 200 men or helping save those lives, he certainly is a hero. And in our mind he's really a general. Let's do something for this World War II vet before he becomes history," said William Jones, Marine Lieutenant, retired.