Raleigh County Vietnam Veteran Receives Purple Heart After Near - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Raleigh County Vietnam Veteran Receives Purple Heart After Near 50-Year Wait

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BECKLEY, W.Va. -

With a single handshake, a dream of nearly 50 years is realized.

Dewey Thompson was hurt while fighting in the Vietnam War in October of 1968. The Sophia Man was just awarded a Purple Heart on Tuesday.

"I'm one of the very few that gets recognition," Thompson said. "Because these other veterans, there are so many of them never recognized, and never will be recognized. So it's a great honor."

Thompson had been trying for years to get a Purple Heart. His family knows how much it means to him. 

Especially his son, Christopher.

"Ever since I can remember I always known that he's struggled to get this Purple Heart," Christopher Thompson said. "Nobody wanted to give him any recognition and he finally got it."

Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) appealed to the U.S. Navy for Thompson to get his Purple Heart. Jenkins said record keeping flaws have kept a significant number of veterans like Thompson from getting the Purple Hearts they deserve.

"What we find in our office, especially for our World War II veterans and beyond moving forward, the record keeping isn't as great as it should be," Jenkins said. 

But Thompson would still be the first to tell you the feeling was worth the wait.

"Oh it's great," he said.

Follow @Joe_Putrelo on Twitter. 

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