Wally was a dear friend. More than that he was a soldier who went to Viet Nam to serve his country. During his service in Viet Nam, Wally was recognized with numerous military awards for valor:
The Silver Star
The Soldier’s Medal
4 Bronze Stars with V Device for Heroism
A Bronze Star for Meritorious Service
3 Purple Hearts
6 Army Commendation Medals
2 Air force Medals
2 Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with Gold Palms
Combat Infantry and Paratrooper Badges
A Presidential Unit Citation
A Direct Field Commission from General Creighton Abrahams
Wally’s service was beyond the norm and spoke to his loyalty to his friends and fellow soldiers. He was one of the 10 most highly decorated soldiers in the war.
Perhaps it’s coincidence, but in 2009, the year Wally passed away, he asked that any gifts in his memory be directed to members of the armed forces serving abroad. Thanks to help from another friend who served the American Red Cross, Wally’s wish motivated me to establish
“The Holiday Gifts to the Troops” charity and name it in his honor.
Wally’s brother once said that he was sure Wally would look down from some heavenly place with his beaming smile and happily reflect on every aspect of our gift program. From the art students designing the boxes and the children packing them, to the soldiers opening them, I am sure it makes him proud. He was a very good soldier, the Best Man in my wedding and most of all a real friend. I will always remember Wally for his smiling face and outstanding efforts on behalf of our country.