Purple Heart

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Today is Purple Heart Day -- the annual, nationwide commemoration of the thousands of American soldiers either killed or wounded while serving in the military who have received the medal. And it is an extra special day for one central New Yorker.

Dan Hunnicutt is an acting chaplain in Oswego County who runs a ministry with his family meant to help veterans. He often wears his medals when he goes to meet troubled vets as a kind of conversation starter. He now has a new one to share.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) awarded a World War II veteran the Purple Heart on Saturday. Staff Sergeant Richard Faulkner turned down the award 70 years ago, but recently had a change of heart.

When 89-year-old Richard Faulkner was 18, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a ball turret gunner. In March of 1944, he was wounded after parachuting out of an airplane that crashed in France. Faulkner says it was the scariest time of his life, he spent 29 days behind enemy lines. He was awarded the Purple Heart, but he turned it down.