Lepanto man helps Memphis vet become reunited with war medals - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Lepanto man helps Memphis vet become reunited with war medals

Williams' Purple Heart Williams' Purple Heart
Laden and Williams walking into ceremony Laden and Williams walking into ceremony
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Boonville man lets buyer keep his stolen car

    Boonville man lets buyer keep his stolen car

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-16 22:58:17 GMT
    A Boonville resident had his car stolen recently and when he learned where the vehicle ended up, he didn't want it back.
    A Boonville resident had his car stolen recently and when he learned where the vehicle ended up, he didn't want it back.
  • Original victim files suit against OBGYN

    Original victim files suit against OBGYN

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:00:19 GMT
    PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Paragould OB/GYN accused of taking nude photos of some of his patients had his first court appearance Thursday. He was arrested Wednesday night at a Newport hotel. Dr. Paul
    The patient that brought all of this to the forefront has now filed civil suit against the doctor and explained in detail what Becton allegedly did to her during that exam that she said led up to him taking nude photos of her.
  • SW Drive opening after fire

    SW Drive opening after fire

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:37 AM EDT2014-04-18 13:37:46 GMT
    JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A portion of Southwest Drive is closed this morning as crews are work on a house fire. According to Jonesboro dispatch the home is vacant. Southwest Drive has been closed from
    Southwest Drive is opening up after crews battled a house fire.


LEPANTO, AR (KAIT) - A Vietnam veteran who was wounded in action had his two service medals returned to him in a special ceremony Monday night at the Lepanto American Legion.

"I'm overwhelmed...I've cried," Veteran Don Williams told Region 8 News. "I've been trying to figure out what to say to these people...I don't know. 'Thank you' just doesn't seem like it's enough to me. It pales in comparison to what they've done."

In a room full of veterans, Lepanto Mayor, Steve Jernigan handed back the medals Williams had been without for years.

Shot six times in Vietnam and told he would never walk again, The Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals Williams received were placed in storage. However, after the death of his mother, Williams said he fell on hard times and was unable to keep up with the payments for the storage unit.

"I've had 'em about four years," Lepanto resident, Ricky Laden told Region 8 News. "I've babied them and I've always wanted to find Mr. Williams," Laden said.

Laden explained that his brother purchased William's delinquent mini-storage unit years ago. When his brother was going through the contents, he found the medals and gave them to him as he knew Laden collected medals.

However, instead of keeping them, Laden has spent that time working to find Williams.

Williams said he's surprised he got the medals back, as Laden could have easily thrown them away.

"I had three brothers in Vietnam at the same time, that just wasn't gonna happen," Laden said. "One way or the other, we was gonna find him or his family was gonna get found and we just happened to find the right person at the right time."

Williams told Region 8 News those like Laden and Mayor Jernigan who have helped him become reunited with his medals have become his extended family. It's an event Williams explained his mother foresaw happening prior to her passing.

"She was telling me, you need to find out who your extended family is...now isn't that odd? Here we are. So God is in this," Williams said.

Though he said he's received thousands of calls from across the country over the past week, thanking him for his service, Williams extended his thanks to someone else during his acceptance speech.

"You've been telling me since I got here that I'm your hero? You're my hero," Williams directed toward Laden. "Today, you're my hero. Because you didn't have to do it."

Though they can't be certain, Williams and Laden explained that they might've met before Monday. 

Laden told Region 8 News that his brother was at the VA Hospital in Memphis last year at the same times Williams was volunteering there. They said they could've easily crossed paths multiple times and not even known.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.


Powered by WorldNow

472 Craighead Co. 766
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 931-8888

FCC Public File
(870) 336-1816
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KAIT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.