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Local veteran receives service medals after 68 years

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Local veteran receives service medals after 68 years
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A local veteran receives an honor which is long overdue. Binghamton resident Jim Wood never received his service medals for the time he spent overseas during World War II. But as our Melissa Kakareka tells us, that changed on Wednesday afternoon.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It's been nearly 70 years since Jim Wood returned home from WWII.
On Wednesday, the 89-year-old was finally given the medals he earned.

"In the beginning, I thought no, I probably wouldn't ever get them," said Wood. "My daughters, they seemed to be interested in them, so that is why I started trying to find out," added Wood.

Wood served in the Army Air Force during WWII and completed 25 combat missions. In July of 1944, he became a POW at a camp in Nazi Germany for ten months. He returned home in November of 1945, but never received his service medals.

"At that time, the military did not issue medals. They issued ribbons only. So it was up to the veteran themselves to obtain their own medals. And of course, a couple of these medals were made eligible years later after the veteran was discharged, especially the POW medal," said Broome County Veterans Services Director Brian Vojtisek.

In addition to his six service medals, Wood also received a POW flag. A representative from Congressman Hanna's office also presented him with an American flag and a Congressional Coin.

Wednesday was a very special day for Jim and his family.

"It's hard to put into words, but I'm very glad to receive them," said Wood.

Wood turned 89 years old on March 3rd. There are only a couple other living former POWs in Broome County.

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