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After More Than 60 Years, Local Veteran Receives Purple Heart

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Sixty years after returning from war, a Northeast Philadelphia man gets the medal he deserves.

As a soldier during the Korean Conflict in 1953, 82-year-old William “Ron” Arpino was wounded in battle in Paugol and earned the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service.

However, he declined the honor because he didn’t want to have his mother notified and know he was injured.

Now in hospice at Holy Redeemer Hospital, a family friend spearheaded a campaign to ensure the former Army Sergeant was finally recognized.

A pinning ceremony was held Monday at the hospital in Meadowbrook, Pa. Family members, staff, and several members of the Chalfont VFW Post 3258 looked on as Veteran Arpino was honored.

“I feel pretty good. I tell you, I’d like to stick my chest out all over the place today,” Arpino said. “It was a long time coming, long time coming.”

“It’s just incredible to me, you now, for the short time he has left now, here today, that he is being honored,” his daughter Lu Cugini said.

Because of the extended wait period for the real Purple Heart to arrive, Arpino received a replica along with the official recognition he has deserved for decades.

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