Fairport WWII veteran posthumously receives medals
Rochester, N.Y. - He earned medals for his service in World War II, but never received them.
But on Wednesday, Fairport native Lt. George Bluhm finally received the recognition he deserved after 70 years.
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter presented Bluhm's widow, Betsy, with the eight medals he was due.
"I wish George could be here,” said his widow. “He's the one that deserves it."
His acts of bravery went unnoticed for decades until his son-in-law discovered diaries describing his experiences.
One of Bluhm’s daughters, Thelma Joy, said she’s happy.
“It's a wonderful thing, well deserved and we're just thrilled that he had gotten these medals," she said.
Among the many honors were the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Honorable Service Lapel Button.
"As long as he got the Purple Heart, that was the most important one," Besty Bluhm said.
The father of five's valor shined through in 1944.
"He was a man's man,” his widow said. “Fellas liked him."
When German antiaircraft fire shot down Bluhm's bomber, he ordered his two gunners to bail, before making a heroic crash landing.
"He hit right at the base of a hill going a 120 miles per hour,” Besty Bluhm said. “He cut all his switches off, so he had no control, just his steering. He went in the snow, and the dirt kept flying right up. He couldn't see where he was going."
He survived the crash and didn't speak much of the war.
His military experience and documents are recorded in a book authored by his son-in-law, Edward Steve.
"I'm just glad that now my children will have a record of what he did," said Bluhm’s widow.
Bluhm served 65 missions in WWII before his release in 1945.
He died seven years ago at the age of 89, and is buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.