Congressman helps retrieve medal for Purple Heart recipient
By KEN NEWTON | St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press | Published: January 24, 2014
Sue Winslow believes her late husband would not have enjoyed the ceremony held on his behalf Thursday.
“He wouldn’t have been happy for this spotlight,” the St. Joseph woman said.
Mrs. Winslow, family members and a number of elected officials stood in the atrium of the Buchanan County Courthouse and watched as Congressman Sam Graves presented a Purple Heart medal that Bob Winslow earned during the Korean War.
Mr. Winslow, a member of the Army 2nd Raiders, got wounded in combat in Korea, sustaining injuries to a hand and an eardrum. After he died last Sept. 7, his widow found a presentation letter for the Purple Heart but no medal.
She contacted the congressman’s office in St. Joseph, and Thursday’s late afternoon event honored the veteran.
“It’s always a pleasure to do this,” said Mr. Graves, who represents North Missouri in the U.S. House. He said intervening for families trying to get earned medals pays tribute to their sacrifice to the nation.
In some cases, the families hit a roadblock because a fire at a St. Louis records facility many years ago destroyed military personnel documents. The lawmaker’s office works to cut some of the red tape.
“It’s usually for their families because, interestingly enough, (the veterans) are very humble,” the representative said.
Mrs. Winslow said her husband, who was born in Maitland, Mo., had been drafted into the Army in 1946 and became a paratrooper, making 26 jumps. After his hitch, Mr. Winslow joined the Army Reserves.
“When Korea broke out, he was on the front lines in a few weeks,” she said, noting that he did not talk much about his war experience until later years. “It was too painful, I guess.”
The courthouse event was one of several events the congressman attended in St. Joseph Thursday during a week-long recess in Washington.
Later in the evening, he was scheduled to speak to the Northwest Missouri Republican Club. Before that, he went to the Northwest Missouri State University-St. Joseph Center to recognize the winners of the 6th District Congressional Art Competition.
Artwork from all 435 congressional districts will be displayed in an area adjoining the U.S. Capitol. More than 50 entries from throughout the Missouri 6th District were submitted for judging.
Among those honored was Benton High School sophomore Rylan McClurg, whose photograph, called “Pumpkin Stem,” got picked as an honorable mention.
Ms. McClurg, who also works in ceramics and other mediums, said the artwork came about as an experiment in exhibiting objects “out of perspective” from their normal appearance.
“The idea was to take a picture of it and make it look like it’s something else,” she said.
Mr. Graves, a Republican, chairs the House Small Business Committee. He is serving his seventh term in the U.S. House.