Veterans receives long-deserved war medals

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- World War II veteran and prisoner of war Lewis Stanage of Three Oaks has waited 58 years for his medals of honor.
His waiting period came to and end this weekend.
On Saturday, Jon McLaughlin, American Legion Post 26 Commander, presented Stanage with six medals, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the POW medal.
Stanage had already received the medals but wanted McLaughlin to officially present him with the medals at the Legion Post where he has been a member for 30 years.
Several people were gathered at the Post to celebrate the belated recognition of Stanage's service to the country.
Over the last year, she has worked hard to ensure her brother would receive the medals he was entitled to.
She thinks her brother deserves the recognition, especially after what he went through during his captivity.
Hinman said her brother had to sleep on the ground with only a blanket in the middle of winter.
The only food served each day was a small portion of potato peel soup and a cup of coffee.
Getting the medals has been a long and difficult process because Stanage's records got lost after the war, Hinman said.
She said Deborah Arnt, with the Berrien County Veterans Service Office in St. Joseph, has helped track down the information needed to obtain the medals.
Stanage was 18 years old when he was drafted.
He was with the Army's 79 Division, who fought in the campaign to free Europe from the Nazi regime.
Having arrived in France a week after D-Day in Normandie, 1944, Stanage said he was captured by retreating Germans in January of 1945.
In April that same year, Stanage said he and other POW's were liberated by U.S Air Force soldiers.
After returning to the U.S after the war, Stanage worked for Bendix, a Bridgman factory, before he retired in 1985.
Stanage, who now lives in South Bend, vividly remembers how the Germans treated him and other POW's.
His worst memory from being in captivity was the lack of food.
Stanage said two to three guys were carried away dead each day, victims of malnutrition.
On April 2, the day of his liberation, Stanage's first request was a simple one, and one the soldiers who liberated him could easily fulfill.
Stanage said he is glad to finally have received the recognition and grateful to his sister who has worked so hard to help him get them.
Arnt, whose organization works to ensure veterans are treated fairly by federal veterans organizations, said she filled out the necessary paperwork with any information available on Stanage.
The paperwork was then sent to the National Personnel Records in St. Louis, Mo, she said.
In the meantime, a newspaper article was found stating the days Stanage was captured and liberated, and the decision was turned around.
Arnt said her office deals with quite a few cases where soldiers are trying to get their medals.
Arnt said she is glad Stanage case has had a successful outcome.

Business

Niles Main Street launches social media campaign focused on shopping small during the holiday season

Edwardsburg

Two involved in Edwardsburg drug bust arraigned on charges

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien, Cass, Van Buren counties report additional COVID-19 deaths

News

Niles City Council welcomes new member

Business

The Strand to offer hayride tour of Sister Lakes

Buchanan

Buchanan City Commission discusses master plan, marijuana application, trees complaints

News

Niles City Council approves outdoor dining zone

News

UPDATE: Rite Aid expands no-cost COVID-19 testing

Dowagiac

Dowagiac city utilities portal receives positive feedback from community

News

Niles District Library decorates for holidays

Business

New Niles restaurant to celebrate creativity

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 314,216 cases, 8,543 deaths

News

Niles man charged in downtown bank robbery

Berrien County

Pokagon Band donates proceeds from Four Winds Invitational to Beacon Children’s Hospital

Berrien County

Local effort underway to support Wreaths Across America

Dowagiac

SMC unveils Grady Scholars initiative

News

MDARD, MI Retailers Association, Meijer urging consumers to shop as normal

News

Further protecting construction, manufacturing workers, MIOSHA enhances inspection efforts

Berrien County

Police rescue man trapped under vehicle after two-car crash in Niles Township

News

Niles mayor asks public to heed warnings after testing positive for COVID-19

Business

Local tree farm opens for holiday season

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg Sports Complex asking for support on GivingTuesday

Education

Niles High School students finish out investment tournament in top half

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary Club planning to support Feed the Hungry campaign