CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) – From outside, the VFW post 1592 in Charleston looked like it would any other day, but just beyond the doors, something special was happening.
The children of Charleston native, James Pearcy, were awarded his Bronze Star Medal.
Pearcy was in the army and found in World War II. He was awarded and recognized for many achievements after fighting in the war, but he was missing one.
He should have been awarded a Bronze Star for his exemplary conduct in sustained action against the armed enemy, but documents were destroyed in a fire in St. Louis and never finished.
That is until Tye Auter came in the picture.
“This went unrecognized for many, many years. Like I said, his grandson put all the leg work, the hard work, the paper work to make this come to fruition,” Fran Gover, Pearcy’s daughter said.
Auter didn’t even know this part of his family until a few years ago. He did a DNA test to learn who his father was, and found this entire family.
Auter is a veteran himself, and so is his father. So, he wanted to learn more about his grandfather, also a veteran, whom he never met.
That’s when he found out about the medal that was never awarded.
“He never knew this, the family never knew this. So, at that time I went ahead and submitted the paper work to get the bronze star awarded,” he said.
It took him about 2 years before he finally got the medal in his hands. He knew he wanted to surprise his dad, aunt and uncle with the achievement.
Pearcy’s 3 kids came to Charleston thinking they were coming to a family reunion, but it ended up being so much more.
“It’s incredible. Yeah, that’s about all you can say,” Michael Pearcy, a son, said.
The medal may have been decades late, but the accomplishment wasn’t lost on any of the family.
The family said it will be something passed down from one generation to the next.