After waiting for more than 60 years, a veteran from Bristol was finally awarded the medals he earned in the Korean War, including a Purple Heart.
It was a long process for Omer Deabay, after some of his records were destroyed and others were misplaced, but he says the honor was worth the wait.
“My family was pushing especially for my Purple Heart,” Deabay said. “They wanted these medals for souvenirs and now here I am, 83 years old.”
At 83, he was awarded five medals in front of a crowd of other veterans at the Bristol Senior Center. The government was finally able to prove he earned them thanks to help from Deabay’s friends in office, including his next door neighbor, the Bristol mayor.
“Omer has been living across the street for me for more than 30 years so it's just a great feeling to be part of this ceremony and honor him for his service,” Mayor Art Ward said.
Deabay also spends his time giving back to the veteran community in Bristol. As part of the Korean War Veterans Association, he has helped raise more than $200,000 for projects around the city. The association restores memorials and build new monuments as a way to keep the history alive.
“It is an honor to be a part of this and it was honor to serve,” Deabay said. “I just want to say thank you so much.”