Army veteran Wayne Shelton of Norwich has waited 45 years to receive his Purple Heart.
Shelton was awarded the Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, but never received a medal. He served in Vietnam for a little over 11 months.
Shelton is among many veterans who wait years to receive the medals they so bravely earned. It was an emotional Wednesday morning as Congressman Bill Johnson presented him with the honorable award in a special ceremony.
"It means a lot, it means 45 years of waiting, I have seen times I have done paperwork, I have done my own paperwork and it’s taken me over 30 years to get through the VA, you shouldn’t have to," Shelton said.
Purple Hearts are awarded to service members who are wounded in battle. There are many reasons recipients don’t end up getting one, such as issues with paperwork. Congressman Johnson told us it was a privilege to see Shelton finally get the recognition he deserves.
"The segment of our society that is deserving of the most gratitude, are those men and women that put on the uniform and go away and protect our freedoms," Johnson said. "He made that sacrifice and I’m glad to see that today our nation finally put closure on recognizing him for the sacrifice that he made."
After waiting decades to receive his award, Shelton told us he hopes to see changes in veteran’s affairs moving forward.