Neighbor surprises World War II veteran with medals

Pooja Lodhia Image
Friday, June 16, 2017
WWII medals given to veteran
WWII medals given to veteran, Pooja Lodhia reports.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's impossible not to smile when you meet 97-year-old Raymond Hutner.

"My secret being 97 years old is to eat what you want to eat, drink what you want to drink, and don't go to doctors," Hutner said.

Hutner has lived in Meyerland for more than 50 years. Before that, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

"I was the 10th one they pulled out of the bowl when they had the draft," he explained.

A year after he was drafted, Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Sergeant Major Raymond Hutner was put in charge of a battalion of 600 soldiers. He led four invasions in the Pacific.

He was awarded the American Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theatre Ribbon with four bronze stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars, and four overseas bars.

But he never got any of his medals. His service card sat in a safe deposit box for more than 70 years.

"Medals didn't mean anything to me because all I wanted to do was get home," he explained.

And that brings us to the present time.

"I thought I would just do it myself," explained Hutner's friend and neighbor, Navy Commander Dr. Brett Perkison. "People like Raymond have provided a model for us as we build our own families and become citizens of this community."

Dr. Perkison ordered the medals his friend had earned. Surrounded by other neighbors, he presented them to Sgt. Major Hutner.

"I thought at this age I would be dead," Hutner explained. "Today made me so proud and happy."

Surely, this is proof that it's never too late to show gratitude.

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