A Midwest City World War II veteran who’s slew of combat medals were stolen from his home last June has reason to smile again.
92-year-old Preston Johnson has been without a right leg since a German landmine explosion during the Battle of the Bulge in January of 1945. Johnson earned several medals, including the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the French Legion of Honor Medal.
Midwest City Police, the 45th Infantry Museum, and the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office coordinated a fundraising and volunteer effort to get copies of Johnson’s medals back to him after the originals were stolen.
It culminated Wednesday in a ceremony at the 45th Infantry Museum. Midwest City Police Sergeant Anthony Lee led the effort.
“I’ve been able to call him a friend now,” he said, "and that’s a great honor to me."
45th Infantry Museum executive director retired Army Col. David Brown says Johnson walked the walk during war and in the many decades after.
“On an artificial leg," Col. Brown said, "he married. He had children. He water skied. He snow skied. He coached baseball. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do,” he said.