PASCO, Wash. -- Congressman Doc Hastings honored the family of Private First Class Harold Choate with a Silver Star, for his sacrifices during World War II. The twist to the story is that Choate passed away three years ago and didn't even know he earned the medal.
Choate's grandson, Jereme Ekiert and his mother Judy accepted the honor and citation at the American Legion Post 34 in Pasco. It started when Ekiert started doing some research on his grandfather after all the stories he told.
"My father loved to tell stories about his time in the military, most soldiers wouldn't but he did. Except he never talked about the bravery part, the heroism part," said Judy Ekiert.
After doing some digging through thousands of general order papers, Choate's grandfather learned more about his grandfather's rescue in Germany in 1944. "I found the awards that we knew about but then I found one for the Silver Star, which is the story he's been telling me all of my life. except he never knew about it," said Jereme Ekiert.
Ekiert then contacted Congressman Doc Hastings Office. "He found out that his grandfather had earned the Silver Star and had not been awarded, and so he came to our office and we looked into it and found out all that was true..The only bad thing is that it's being issue posthumously. But he clearly was a hero, there's no question about that," said Hastings.
The 85 year old hero died three years ago never knowing He did earn two Purple Hearts, and the Bronze Star. While serving, Choate lost an eye, and part of his leg among other injuries.