Private Charles J. Putnam began serving in the Army in 1917, in the middle of WWI. He was in the trenches of France in 1918 when a bomb when off.
“Three of the fellas that he was with were seriously wounded as well as my dad and he had 11 pieces of shrapnel in his legs from the exploding German shell,” said Thomas Putnam, Charles’ son.
It wasn’t until 6 months ago when Thomas was looking at Charles’ discharge papers when he noticed his father never received his Purple Heart.
“At first it was kind of just something to do and it finally turned into something that I really wanted to finish up,” said Thomas Putnam.
Thomas had to put together a binder of documents and letters proving Charles was in fact injured while serving. About a month ago, he was told his dad would get his Purple Heart, but it would take a year to arrive. Which, when you’re 93 years old, is a long time.
Thomas spoke with someone on the phone who, after hearing his age, decided to fast forward the process. He received the medal in five days.
“I think [I feel] satisfaction and pride, certainly both. I think that was something for me to do, it was a task I wanted to finish and when I was finished, I was rather proud of it,” Thomas said.