Medals presented to family West Michigan WWII hero

Posted at 3:58 PM, Oct 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 17:20:37-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A West Michigan hero was honored Friday, more than a half century after his death.

Army Private Frederick Ash served in Europe during World War II and his acts of heroism earned him nine medals.  About four years after he returned home, he died in a boating accident.

Private Ash was wounded in combat when he served in Europe.  All of his service records were lost in a fire and the Department of Defense didn't even know he had children.  Cheryl Heinrich is his daughter who was born shortly after he returned from the war.  When Heinrich contacted the Veterans Administration requesting a headstone for her father's grave, the connection was finally made.  She says she didn't know much about her father, but is grateful to finally receive recognition for his service to our country.

"I'm very proud of him," Heinrich told FOX 17 Friday. "It's too bad he wasn't able to get them (the medals) himself."

Michigan U.S. Senator Gary Peters presented the medals to Heinrich Friday.  The medals presented were the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Double Bronze Star Attachment, the World War II Victory Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award and the Honorable Service Lapel Button World War II.

Heinrich says she'll had them down to her granddaughter one day.