WWII veteran receives Bronze Star
POSTED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 6:08pm
UPDATED: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 7:57pm
EL PASO (KTSM) — Fort Bliss honored a local veteran for his service 70 years ago. Pfc. Robert Giron earned the Bronze Star during his years battling in World War II.
The medal is military's fourth highest award and Giron received it for his service in a combat zone.
The 93-year-old is modest. He never thought he deserved the award, but he was very thankful.
A humble hero finally got the recognition he deserved.
"I'm excited because I never expected this to happen," said Giron.
On Thursday, Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland awarded Giron the Bronze Star in Fort Bliss. Surrounded by soldiers, his wife Carmen of 66 years and loved ones, it was a special moment more than 70 years in the making.
"He’s so thankful and probably why he's so humble. He didn't expect this and he actually said when he found out that he was receiving the metal, he said, ‘Just mail it to me. Just give it to me’ because he did not expect all of this," said granddaughter Christine Chadwick.
"It's definitely a very proud moment and very honorable to think of what he's done and he's still being honored for it right now," said great-grandson Dominic Valverde.
Along with his two brothers Louis and Ernest, Giron was drafted in 1942.
"I had to go. I didn't back out. I was ready to go," said Giron.
He was an infantryman who battled in France, Germany and the Battle of the Bulge where he was seriously injured. The army awarded him the Purple Heart.
But his family didn't know the Bronze Star was due until the 93-year-old did an interview with the Red Cross two years ago.
"He's shy. He's a very timid person and he said, 'I didn't do anything.’ I said, ‘but you got the Purple Heart so you must have done something for valor,’" said Gaetana Broillet, a Red Cross volunteer.
Then after his son saw his discharge papers and put in a request for the honor, it didn't take long for everyone to stand up and say thank you to one of America’s heroes.
"It's very emotional because it was so meaningful to him and I know he represents so many others as well," said Chadwick.
"I finally got this. I didn't expect it to happen to me but I appreciate everything," said Giron.
Giron lives in northeast El Paso with his wife, Carmen. They'll celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary next month. They have four children and 14 grandchildren.
Fort Bliss will honor Giron and other veterans at a ball on April 10.