Veteran's son savors WWII Purple Heart

Akron Beacon Journal

While fighting during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-45, George W. Hopkins and the soldiers he was fighting with built a small campfire to warm themselves and rest.

George pulled off his boots to warm his icy feet at the fire but fell asleep. When he woke up, the soldiers had to march forward, but his feet were frozen.

With no real alternative, he shoved his frozen feet into his boots and pressed on — an act that would cause him pain and medical problems the rest of his life.

Hopkins' right foot was so badly damaged, Army doctors wanted to amputate, but he resisted and lived with pain and circulation problems until his death in 1986, at age 73, in Laredo, Texas.

On Thursday, John Hopkins, 63, of Green, received the overdue recognition of his father's dedication and service: an engraved Purple Heart and six other medals presented during a ceremony at the Summit County Veterans Service Commission on Waterloo Road in Akron.

Hopkins said he had worked hard for two years to try to get his father's military records but kept bumping into brick walls.

Frustrated, Hopkins said to himself, ''I know one good man I can count on, that's [U.S. Sen.] Sherrod Brown.''

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