WWII vet awarded medals by family after fire damages originals - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

WWII vet awarded medals by family after fire damages originals

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SOUTH HADLEY, MA (WSHM) -

Fred Czupkiewicz has plenty of stories to tell - about his close-knit family, a life spent working to support that family and even his time fighting under the command of Gen. George Patton.

"We were fighting on the line for about two months, so you didn't know whether it was Saturday, Sunday or Monday," Czupkiewicz said.

Towards the end of World War II, Czupkiewicz was captured during the Battle of the Bulge. He remembers the telegrams his wife got from overseas.

"The first one she got was, 'Your husband's missing in action.' The next time it was, 'He's a POW, he's caught by the Germans.'"

Nearly 10 months later, however, he was freed.

"I was lucky I got out of there."

And during his years as a staff sergeant in the army, Czupkiewicz was awarded several times. But those medals were badly damaged when his South Hadley home nearly burnt down last year.

His grandson, Mike Boyington, a former Marine and veteran himself, presented his grandfather with all the medals he had earned so many years ago this Memorial Day.

"I can't picture a more honorary day to do this on," Boyington said.

"Nice plaque of all my adventures in the service," Czupkiewicz said, "he's a guy that thinks a lot of me, thinks the world of me. He would take the shirt off his back to give it to me."

Boyington even set up a flag pole Monday in his grandfather's yard, something Czupkiewicz has always wanted.

"I got good children in this family here," Czupkiewicz said.

"I can't express the words, I love him to death," Boyington said.

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