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Bustos presents replacement military medals to local Korean War veterans

Saturday morning marked a very special day for those who served during the Korean War.

Saturday morning marked a very special day for those who served during the Korean War.

Two local veterans received a special gift Saturday morning.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos presented the two Korean War veterans with replacement military metals. For veteran Edward Welvaert, it was a tough year to look back on.

"Being over there, a year there wasn't too many good memories,” said Edward Welvaert, Korean War veteran.

At the young age of 21, both Frank Ochoa Sr. and Edward Welvaert were drafted into the war and today the Ochoa family wanted to surprise their father with a gift that was misplaced throughout the years.

"My dad had mentioned over the years he had not received all his metals from serving in the Korean war so I thought well let me call Congresswoman Bustos,” said Frank Ochoa Jr, son of Frank Ochoa Sr.

"The fact that we could give them something that meant so much to them and for their families it was, it was, it was... a great feeling to talk with them about their service and to be able to honor them again with these metals,” said Cheri Bustos, Congresswoman.

After the three hour mystery car ride to Cheri Bustos’ Rock Island office, Ochoa Sr. says he was unsure about what was going on.

"I didn't know nothing about it...(laugh) big surprise for me,” said Frank Ochoa Sr.

Although, he doesn't talk much about the details during the war, his family says they can only imagine what their father went through 64 years ago.

"I'm very emotional when it comes to my parents and my dad. He's been through a lot and he doesn't talk about his experience there and we don't ask," said Debbie Mureiko, daughter of Frank Ochoa Sr.

Looking at the military metals Saturday morning, Debbie wondered what it was like for her father, back then.

“I kinda thought about it. What did he go through? Kinda like I want to know but I don't want to know,” said Mureiko.

Although the war was a difficult memory to look back on, both war veterans are thankful that they were able to replace what was given to them many years ago. 

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