Valdosta Veteran finally honored - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Veteran finally honored

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January 5, 2006

Valdosta - Thomas Baldree has always been a hero to his wife and kids.  "He was always a person that helped our children, he was always there for the kids and always there for me," says Georgia Baldree.

But before he served his family, he served his country as a Sergeant in the army during the Korean War.  "I was with the 323rd Combat Engineer Unit.  We were attached to anyone who wanted the road cleared or trees pushed so a tank could get through.  They called us!" Thomas says.

When the war was over, he married his sweetheart and settled in Valdosta. 

But the 77-year-old Baldree never received the Bronze Star owed to him for his service overseas.  "We tried the Veterans Administration, the VFW, and the American Legions and they hadn't done anything," Georgia says.

So finally his wife wrote a letter asking the White House for help.  "He said what's that letter to the White House?  And I said, just mail it.  And he said why?  They are just going to throw it in the garbage.  And I said no they won't cause I'll write again," she adds.

After 54 years, with the help of President Bush, Sgt. Baldree finally received his Bronze Star, three medals of service and the recognition he deserves.  "I feel, it made me feel good.  I'm proud of myself," he says.

Although the medals came 54 years too late, it never changed his feelings about his time in the army.  "Did I enjoy it?  Yes ma'am!  I'd do it again if I had to!" Thomas exclaims.

Baldree also received a letter of appreciation from the President of South Korea.

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