World War II veteran Edward Mims was recently honored and awarded a Purple Heart for the wounds he sustained in World War II, the Military Times reported.
In April 1944, Mims and five other men from the 566th Bombardment Squadron of the 8th Army Air Force narrowly escaped their B-24 Liberator just moments before it exploded in Nazi Germany.
Staff Sgt. Mims, a 20-year-old at the time, had his face and hands burned in the B-24, but narrowly escaped the plane before it exploded, which killed four soldiers.
Mims was taken to a hospital in Frankfurt, but the Nazis then sent him to Stalag 17b, a prison camp in Austria.
He was a prisoner-of-war for 390 days, the last 25 of which were spent on a 268-mile march, facing starvation and frostbite. Mims was liberated by U.S. forces on May 3, 1945.
“No proof, no Purple Heart,” said Eugene Parent – a veteran, friend, and advocate of Mims. “I just felt I really needed to do something for someone who [went] overseas.”
Parent searched for records and interviewed other WWII veterans and their families.
He finally resorted to sending a letter to then-President Obama in 2016. He sent another to President Trump after not hearing back.
A month after sending Trump the letter, Mims received the award in the mail 74 years later.
“It brought back memories, sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s bad, y’know,” said Edward Mims. “You’ve got to live with them, regardless of what the experiences were. Sometimes facing them takes care of that better than trying to hide it.”
Col. Jason Wolter and Command Sgt. Maj. Martin Convoy presented Mims the Purple Heart.
“We consider it a gift from our country and our president,” said Sandi Mims.