Bronze Star for "Star Serviceman"

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"I have to thank God about for this, because there is no way I could have survived the things I did without a higher being," John Thrash told a crowd gathered at his workplace, Bill Ethridge Lincoln Mercury, on Thursday.

It was an emotional day for John Thrash as he received the Bronze Star, a medal from the U.S. Army for heroic service during WWII.

"It was a great day, especially with my family here," said Thrash.

Drafted when he was only 18, Thrash served as a machine gunner in the 90th Division of Company G. He was in 5 major battles from Central Europe to Normandy. And even though it was almost 60 years ago, local veterans have not forgotten.

"It’s for the sacrifices he made for his country and as you can tell here today, he still really loves his country," said Charles Wansley, the Veteran's Affairs Officer from Newton County.

Thrash's love for his country has earned him not only the Bronze Star, but seven other medals, including the Purple Heart, the WWII Victory Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.

As he received this 8th honor Thursday it was bittersweet as Thrash remembered those who are serving overseas now.

"I would help them if I could, I really would. I pray for them and if I was fit, I would be over there," said Thrash.

It became clear that the Bronze Star awarded Thursday was only a small symbol of the star serviceman John Thrash once was.