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'A true American': Local WWII veteran honored by National Guard members

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Posted at 10:52 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 19:38:38-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — One look outside Paul Frederick's door inside Sayre Christian Village and it is easy to see he is a patriot. He left high school to join the Marine Corps and served in World War II in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Sixty years later he finally earned his high school diploma. The 96-year-old is proud of what he accomplished and proud of his country.

"Paul Frederick is a true American," said Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Rezac of the Kentucky National Guard.

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Now a new crop of military members has learned of Frederick's patriotism. The 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade of the Kentucky National Guard has been placed at Sayre to provide aid during the pandemic.

"As soon as (Frederick) saw any of us in the hallways he would stop and visit with us, share a peppermint candy with us because that's what he loved to do, and enjoyed talking about his time in the military," Rezac said.

Rezac said it did not take long for them to fall in love with Frederick. His brigade decided they had to do something to honor their new friend's service and sacrifice.

"Four of them came to me and said, 'Hey Sargent Major, I think it'd be a great idea if we could take an American flag and fly it in one of our helicopters just like we did overseas when we were in Iraq and Afghanistan,'" Rezac said.

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After flying the flag over the Capitol in Frankfort, they signed the flag, took a group picture with it and ultimately, presented it to Frederick.

In true humble servant fashion, Frederick could not take the spotlight of the presentation just for himself. Even as he was being honored, he showed appreciation for those who have come after him and gratitude for the deserved recognition.

Paul Frederick said, "Over my 96-years I've had a lot of people cross my path, some I've liked some I haven't, but I really appreciate these boys that have crossed my path," Frederick said. "I'll remember them as long as I live."