One of the loves in my life is to meet extraordinary people. So I would like to dedicate today to an American hero.
A dear friend of mine Mark Konjevod, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at WIN Products, arranged a lunch-in with myself and someone very dear to his heart. His close friend Walter D. Ehlers.
For those of you not familiar with Walter Ehlers he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Heroism on D-Day, June 6th 1944. He was supposed to be on the second wave but was pushed up to be the first wave on Omaha Beach. Not only is he the last living person with the Congressional Medal of Honor from D-Day but he is one miraculous human being.
Walter was nice enough to bring his metal with him to lunch so I could see it.
Walter is 89 years old and is turning 90 on May 7th with 3 children, 11 grand children and married for 60 years.
"Ehlers joined the Army from Manhattan, Kansas with his older brother Roland in 1940. By June 9, 1944 he was serving as a Staff Sergeant in the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. On that day, near Goville, France, he led his unit's attack against German forces and single-handedly defeated several enemy machine gun nests. The next day, his platoon came under heavy fire and he covered their withdrawal, carried a wounded rifleman to safety, and continued to lead despite his own wounds. For his actions, he was issued the Medal of Honor six months later, on December 19, 1944." Website
Unfortunately his brother Rolland was killed at battle during the invasion of Normandy on the second wave coming into Omaha beach.
I was extremely curious and constantly asking him questions regarding, well pretty much everything.
He was shot four times... Let me clear that up. He was shot four different times and never gave up. He explained he wouldn't have survived or received any medal without his platoon by his side and still has a bullet in his leg.
Walter told us when he first realized he was being awarded the medal of honor, he read about it in the Stars and Stripes magazine. He ran into a Corporal that recognized him and said. "Ehlers, What are you doing here? You are supposed to be receiving the metal of honor from the president." He replies, "Yes sir, I just read about it in The Stars and Stripes."