More than 60 years after serving his country, Willis Negley of Newville has finally received recognition.
On Wednesday, Congressman Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, presented Negley with multiple medals for his time in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
“This means everything to me,” Negley said. “I fought for those medals. I waited so long to get them.”
Negley was presented with the Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with one bronze star, Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award and the United Nations Service Medal during a ceremony held at the Old Main Chapel at Shippensburg University.
“It is a true honor to share this day here with you,” Barletta said to Negley. “You are an American hero, and the fact that we are here to honor you and thank you for your service during the Korean War and all the veterans who have served this great country and made it what it is today.”
Barletta said in a news release he frequently presents medals that were lost or never awarded for a variety of reasons, including fire, lost records or discovery of old records.
Negley served in the U.S. Army from November 1952 to November 1954, spending 13 months in Korea during the Korean War.
A smile drew across Negley’s face Wednesday as he received his medals and he jubilantly held them above his head and addressed the crowd gathered in the chapel.
“I’m so proud of this,” he said. “I waited a long time to get these. ... God bless all of you.”
Negley was joined Wednesday by his wife, Carrie Negley, and his family.
Carrie Negley said her family reached out to Barletta’s office after seeing a recent newspaper article about several other soldiers who had served in the Korean War recently receiving medals they had earned during the war.
A representative from Barletta’s office said Negley was unaware that he had earned the medals until he saw the article and contacted Barletta’s office to research the matter.
After receiving his medals, Negley was greeted by a line of military members who attended the ceremony.
As each man and woman worked their way through the line to shake Negley’s hand, Negley saluted and thanked them for their service.