World War II veteran honored by community with quilt

Ward Young, 97, helped to free prisoners from concentration camps in Germany

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor, Quan McWil

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A World War II veteran received a special gift from the Middleburg community Saturday. 

Ward Young, 97, was wounded in Germany. 

“I didn’t have it too bad,” he said. “First night was the worst part of my experience. I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

Young was honored with a quilt as a token of appreciation for his service.

Quilt of Valor has given out 219,144 quilts, with Ward Young being their latest recipient. 

“There are three messages that a quilt brings with it," said Bill McCamy of Quilt of Valor. "Number 1 is to thank the veteran for his service. To honor his sacrifice that he has made and we also want him to know that he has never been forgotten.”

The memories of war are vivid in his mind, like the time he entered and helped liberate prisoners at a concentration camp.

He shares those stories with his family.

“He told us about some of the times where he had hand-to-hand combat, going down some streets that are dark and not being able to see and not  knowing what was coming," said son-in-law Byron Thomas. "And fear and all the things came with that.”

An injury would force Young to leave the military, but patriotism and valor remained in his heart. 

Young was spared by the sacrifice of his friends. So for now, he sees their valor in his own quilt.

"No, I don’t consider myself a hero," Young said. "The people that came back with no legs and arms, those are the guys that are heroes. I’m not. I just done what I had to do and done it to the best of my ability.”

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