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Korean War veteran receives awards in Johnsburg

Korean War veteran Don Voigt is presented with his award by State Sen. Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry.
Korean War veteran Don Voigt is presented with his award by State Sen. Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry.

Surrounded by his friends and family, Korean War veteran Don Voigt, who used to live in McHenry, came back to the area to receive six military awards on Saturday.

The search for these awards started last September, when Voigt told his friend, Val Hobson, of McHenry, about a Purple Heart medal he was given that went missing.

While serving as an infantryman in Korea, Voigt was injured when a Jeep he was in was attacked, sending all occupants of the vehicle to the First Aid station for treatment.

Voigt was treated for shrapnel injuries, then released back to the battlefield the next day. He was awarded the Purple Heart at the First Aid station in Korea- but it ended up being lost, or stolen, Hobson said.

Hobson said while researching information to get Voigt back his Purple Heart, it was discovered that he was entitled to several other awards for his outstanding service in Korea.

Voigt was presented these awards on Saturday, by State Sen. Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry, who pinned them to his shirt.

These were: the National Defense Service Medal; United Nation Service Medal; and the Korean service Medal with two bronze service bars. In addition, he was given two badges: the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Sharpshooter Badge with a Carbine Bar, Pistol Bar and Rifle Bar. All of these were to replace awards that had previously been lost.

Voigt also received a new award: the Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal.

The Purple Heart remains "elusive," Hobson said, but they are still pursuing it.

Voigt moved to Arizona after living in McHenry for many years. However, he wanted to have the award presentation in McHenry County, because that's where a lot of his friends and family live, Hobson said, so they ended up having a party at his niece's house in Johnsburg.

Party guests included family members and friends Voigt has known for a long time, including one who had been the best man at his wedding.

Voigt said it was a great honor to get the medals, and he was happy to get them and be around such "super people."

"It's something else," he said, when asked how he felt about getting the awards.

Lucinda Peterson, one of Voigt's daughters, said it took a long time to get the medals, but it was a blessing when they did.

"People tell me how awesome my dad is, and I look at him and I go, yeah, I know, because he's my dad," she said. "My dad put his life on the line."

Hobson said it was "incredible" to do something like this for Voigt.

"He's just so humble. He didn't really want any fuss or anything, but I'm like you know what? You're entitled. You deserve this," she said. "You need to know how much people appreciate what you have done."


 

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