A Hauppauge World War II veteran received an honorary award on Friday morning, a recognize he waited more than a half century to receive.
William Grimaldi, 90, received a Bronze Star Medal for his actions while serving as a corporal in the U. S. Army overseas in France during World War II from Rep. Steve Israel, D- Huntington, on Friday morning.
Grimaldi received the Bronze Star for actions taken in France in 1945, when he entered a downed and burning American B-17 aircraft to rescue airmen near the French/Belgian border. He entered the aircraft not once, but twice, returning a second time to rescue more crew members and, after receiving orders, took them to General George S. Patton's nearby headquarters.
The Hauppauge veteran never received his commendations after service, and had contacted Israel for help.
"Our vetearns put their lives on the line defending our country. It's our duty to make sure they get every medal and every benefit that they've earned," Israel said. "As we celebrate Independence Day next week, it is important to remember those who have sacrafied to serve our country and fight for the freedoms we enjoy. I'm honored to be able to prsent Wiliam Grimaldi with his long overdue Bronze Star."
Attending the ceremony with Grimaldi, were his daughter, Jean, and her husband, Frank, as well as two of his grandchildren.