T his week marked the 69th anniversary of D-Day in World War II. Just a few weeks after the famous 1944 invasion, one Cheboygan soldier was sent to Normandy to help fight the Nazis.
B ut until just this year , he never received the medals he earned on the battlefield.
F or many of his 88 years , E d Stempky told stories to family about his time in the army. These stories led his wife and children wondering, where were the medals that he earned?
T o Stempky, the memories of WWII are vivid and one story stands out.
" The whole net was a fire on top of the big shells that were quick detonating shell that each weighed 242 lbs .," Stempky said.
W ithin seconds , his entire battalion was in danger.
" He told everybody to run and they all ran as quick as they could," Stempky said.
B ut in a moment of crisis , S tempky acted.
" And I quickly got on top of the tank and rolled that fire right off top of the shells ," Stempky explained.
T he battalion was safe.
" He quickly ran back and said I'm recommending you right now for a metal ," Stempky noted.
D ays following the incident , S tempky was honored for his heroics in front of his fellow soldiers
" With the quick detonating fuses on that 242 pound shells it would have blown that place," Stempky said. "Heck you wouldn't find me in pieces."
B ut he never rec ei ved the Bronze Star medal he was promised. So his wife and children tracked down the medals he earned nearly seven decades after he served.
" He deserved to have the me d als , but not for only his sake , but for the sake of his children and his grandchildren so that they could you know see these me d als , recall the stories , a nd have a real hero in their life to look up to ," Carol Stempky said.
B ut for now Ed Stempky plans on setting the medals aside and telling the stories himself.