SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 - Utah) A Utah WW1 Veteran was posthumously honored with a purple heart Friday.
It’s awarded to soldiers who are injured or killed serving their country.
Friday’s ceremony was nearly a century overdue. It all came down to a little bit of luck, and a whole lot of hard work.
Walter H. Anderson served in World War 1. A mustard gas attack in 1918 took him out of the field for six weeks.
“We've got a wonderful family record now,” said Bradley Anderson, Walter Anderson’s grandson. “Wonderful.”
Bradley never met his grandfather, but he knew his hero through stories passed down through the family.
Stories he then shared with Senator Mike Lee’s office two years ago with one goal: get his grandfather the Purple Heart he deserves.
“It was because of the story,” said Wendy Johnson, who works in Military and Veterans Affairs in the Senator’s office. “All of a sudden he became alive for me. We thought wow, this is an amazing story, but where's the proof?”
That proof sent Johnson and the
“It's been a fight all the way the last two years,” said
All looking for one piece of paper to prove his grandfather was injured nearly 100 years ago.
Anderson and Johnson spent the next nine months making phone calls and looking for his medical record from 1918.
“I was like, ‘there's got to be more to this,’” said Johnson.
Then came a lucky break. The paper they need was on file in
“Wendy called me up and she said congratulations,” said
“It was probably the most exciting phone call I've made,” said Johnson.
“My grandfather, he wouldn't accept this for himself,” said
Walter’s son, Bradley’s father, was also a big part of helping get the Purple Heart. He passed away last week, on July 22; shortly after learning his father had earned the Purple Heart.