Family of Korean War veteran receives posthumous medals

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) After years of waiting, a Central Texas family has received the medals for a loved one killed in the Korean War.

It took decades for it to happen, but Tuesday night was a moment that words couldn’t describe.

“It means the world, it’s just…I don’t know. It’s just an honor,” Jerry Swanner said.

Jerry, who is also a veteran, was only five years old when his brother, Joel, was killed in action.

“I just remember seeing him in his uniform when he was on his way to Korea,” Jerry said.

Joel was awarded the Purple Heart, but his family says, other service medals were nowhere to be found.

Nearly two years ago, Jerry started a journey to get those medals. After months of frustration, he reached out to the office of Sen. John Cornyn.

“We played a very small role in this but a privilege for us to be able to fix something that had gone, right or wrong, for so long,” said Jeff Williford, Deputy Regional Director for Cornyn’s Central Texas office.

After a short presentation inside the Charlie R. Greene Memorial Hall, the Swanner family was presented with Joel’s medals from his years of service.

“I’ve got mines from Vietnam and everything, but never had his. Didn’t know what he was entitled to, never received anything other than his Purple Heart,” Jerry said.

The special presentation was put on by the Military Order of Purple Hearts.

“It meant a lot to me because this gentleman had been working for over two years trying to get this medal for his brother,” said John Footman, Regional Five Chief of Staff.

After paying the ultimate sacrifice, Joel’s medals are finally with his family.

"Now, I can actually say my brother is home," Jerry said.