Stanley J. Jurek served his country in World War II as a Navy sailor. He was honored as a hero when he came home from the war. Now 70 year later, it’s happening again.
The 94-year-old veteran was given the “Hero Award” by Homes for Heroes Michiana, a nonprofit whose mission is “to provide extraordinary savings to local heroes who provide extraordinary services to our community everyday.” Jurek was surprised with a medal, a flag, and a salute from the honor guard, care of American Legion Riders Post 357.
“This is one of our greatest honors to honor any type of veteran but to be able to do a world war ii veteran, I mean, it’s just…it gets you right there,” director of the American Legion Riders Wayne Zwierzynski told WNDU.
“Grateful to have surprised Stanley J. Jurek, a 94 year old Naval WWII Veteran, with the Hero Award this afternoon at his home,” Homes for Heroes posted to Facebook. “We love how our community comes together for those that have served 🇺🇸.”
Jurek was surprised with the honor. His daughter and son, Debbie Kominowski and Ray Jurek, actually managed to keep the secret for weeks leading up to the event.
“My dad was shocked, very shocked,” Ray Jurek said. “We love him. He means everything to us. They have been great parents,” Kominowski tearfully added.
“I was wondering what’s going on. I just want to thank everybody for what they are doing over here,” Jurek said.
The award brought a flood of memories back to the venerable veteran. Even after 70 years he still remembers those he fought alongside in WWII like it was yesterday.
“It means a lot to me. People respected what I did. I wish I could be doing it again. Just thank you everybody. Thank you everybody,” Jurek said.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.