Fred in the News
WNDU: Upton surprises WWII veteran with service medals
NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - A local WWII veteran lost his home in a fire decades ago. But not only did he lose his home, but the medals he earned while serving.
But today, he was in for a surprise.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE VIA WNDU.
94-year-old Chester Dash, Sr., served in World War II as a rifleman. Shortly after returning home, he lost several of his war medals in a house fire.
Today at his humble abode, he received several gifts from congressman Fred Upton…gifts earned through his efforts in the war.
“They did their duty for their service, to the country and they just want to get home and get back to their life,” said Rep Fred Upton (R-MI) who surprised Dash with the medals at his Niles home. “You know it’s often an afterthought thinking about those medals that they were often deserving of.”
Dash received the Bronze Star Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 bronze service stars, WWII Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Bridge 1st Award, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.
His service through seven medals and seven decades later, three generations stood by his side as he received them.
“There are twelve of us,” said Pamela Behm, Chester’s youngest daughter. “I’m not even sure of how many grandchildren, I would have to sit and think about it for a minute.” She added concluding with levity that she believed her mom was pregnant for about 20 years.
Her mother, Ruth Dash, and Chester both moved to Niles after their home was destroyed in a fire decades ago. His medals were also casualties of the conflagration. Today, Chester remembers his wife his best friend.
“She wouldn’t talk much but she was a wonderful woman,” said Chester Dash, Sr., with emotion.
“With my grandpa, he’s always been my idol,” said Brandy Smith, Chester’s granddaughter who was also at the home where the surprise took place. “He’s always been my hero.”
No matter what generation this family is a part of, this moment will be remembered for many generations to come.
“But I do know this, it is something that it had to be done, and I was there to do it,” said Dash.
Congressman Upton hopes this story will inspire other veterans who have lost medals or in Chester’s case, they’ve been destroyed, to contact his office so they can have what’s rightfully theirs.