Florida Army vet gets Purple Heart 66 years after injury

PARKER, Fla. (AP) — It took 66 years, but Joe Hutchinson finally got his Purple Heart.

In August 1950, the Army veteran was wounded by shrapnel while serving in Korea. The belated recognition came Wednesday, thanks to the efforts George Nepereny, who lives near Hutchinson in the Florida Panhandle.

Nepereny learned that Hutchinson’s records were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. He helped him sort out his military records.

He tells the News-Herald that Hutchinson, now in his 80s, is a “real patriot.” Hutchinson says he’s honored.

Shortly after his injury, Hutchinson went right back to the battlefield. Afterward, he received receive three battle stars and a Combat Infantry Badge. His unit was also awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. Now he has the Purple Heart.

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