Hershel "Woody" Williams on a mission for veteran families
BARBOURSVILLE, WV (WCHS/WVAH) 92-year-old medal of honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams is making sure gold star families are getting the recognition they deserve for their sacrifice.
Gold star family members include anyone who has lost a loved one to the armed forces. This fall Cabell County families will have a permanent place for remembrance. Members of the Woody Williams Foundation raised money across West Virginia for gold star families. The $50,000 dollar monument is being designed specifically for Cabell County. It will be dedicated and displayed at Lake William in Barboursville Park.
Shirley White lost two sons in the military. She said she will never forget the moment she heard the heart wrenching news.
"I can't put that feeling into words," White said. "If you haven't experienced it you can't imagine what goes through your heart and what goes through your soul after that loss."
She is a member of the West Virginia chapter of gold star mothers. All members have lost their children while they were serving in the armed forces.
"Even after 10 years I still want to talk about my son," White said. "That is the way the other mothers feel too. We comfort each other. We understand each other. Sometimes we don't even have to say anything. We just give each other hugs."
Woody Williams delivered that heart-breaking news to several families when he was 18-years-old. He said this is his way of giving back to all of them.
"We didn't know what those telegrams were at the time," Williams said. "The families knew when they saw us. They knew we were giving them terrible news. That was very hard for me to handle. I didn't know how to respond to them."
This is the third gold star monument the Woody Williams Foundation has helped place in West Virginia. Their goal is to have at least one monument in each of the 50 states. The monument will be dedicated this fall.