'Quilt of Valor' presented to honor local WWII veteran
A local World War II veteran received a special honor on Wednesday from two area organizations for his service more than 75 years ago.
Joe Young Jr. is a 98-year-old Rochester native who was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army when he was part of the second wave of soldiers to land on Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion in 1944.
Young received several medals for his bravery and service.
But a Red Cross volunteer, who accompanied Young last December to a ceremony to honor deceased U.S. service members, discovered he had never been honored for his service by any local group.
A request was then made to the local chapter of Quilts of Valor, an organization that provides handmade quilts to current service members and veterans, to provide healing and comfort. The quilt was presented to Young at the Rochester Red Cross offices on Wednesday.
Young told WXXI News that he still remembers many of those he served with, including those who didn’t make it back home.
“There’s a number of friends in my company that are lost now,” Young said. “It makes me shiver sometimes, what I thought we went through and realized how I came through, how lucky I was to come through it the way I have.”
Young, who will turn 99 in a couple of weeks, is always appreciative and even surprised when a stranger picks up his check in a restaurant or tries to pay for his groceries, but he said he’s not looking for anything special.
“It’s enough just to say thank you, that’s all, and to remember what we went through, that’s the main thing,” Young said.