Aug 26 2023
Matt Lackritz | WSAZ
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A hero, a World War II Medal of Honor Recipient, and a native West Virginian, Saturday marked the first ever Woody Williams Memorial Ride.
In May of 2022, Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient, requested a gold star family memorial monument to be built.
“This was one of his last dying wishes,” said Brent Casey, Woody’s grandson. “He wrote this proclamation or proposal to honor Gold Star families in the tri-state, Huntington area, and he wanted to do it at the arch.”
Gold star families are those whose loved ones didn’t make it home from war.
In his last years, with the help of the Woody Williams Foundation, more than 100 gold star memorials now grace the country.
Gold Star Family Monument Chairman Dan Ferguson said the monument for Huntington is almost finished and will be unveiled on October 2nd, on what would have been Woody’s 100th birthday.
“You’re going to have the arch on one end, represents World War One,” Ferguson said. “You’re going to have the Gold Star Family Monument on the other end, which represents all the families that have lost a loved one during a conflict. It’s just going to be a military setting.”
Casey said this is the first of what will become an annual ride in his grandfather’s honor.