COOK COUNTY — A 91-year-old U.S. Navy veteran has been given five medals he earned during World War II – nearly 70 years after the Illinois man refused to accept them.
On Monday, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois gave Joe Hoppe of Chicago the five medals he earned while serving as a 1st Class Petty Officer on a number of ships during the war.
A spokeswoman for the senator says that during a presentation ceremony on Monday, Hoppe explained he didn’t take the medals because he believed his brother and two best friends who were killed in the war deserved them more.
But in a ceremony in which Durbin called Hoppe a hero, Hoppe said he’d accept them as a way of honoring those who have served in the military.