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Brewer, WWII veteran, awarded service medals 77 years later

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) – Nearly 80 years after leaving the Navy, a World War II veteran from Brewer has finally received his service medals.

“Automatically sent to the service at 18. The biggest part is that we were juniors in high school. We had to give up. We must have forgotten about high school and we were drafted on June 1,” said Navy veteran Perry Drew.

While undergoing basic training in Rhode Island, Perry was assigned to the Navy’s armed guard, the start of his world tour.

“I might have been to New Hampshire before,” Drew said. “After training, I went to Philadelphia and boarded my first ship. We went to Casablanca, and I did 14 round trips. Different countries like Italy, England, France , South Africa And finally, my last trip was to Murmansk, Russia.

“He came in at 18 and then when the war ended in 1945 he was 20. He was so anxious to get home he never went to get his medals,” said Calla Burgess, the daughter of Drew.

About a year ago, Drew’s daughter and son-in-law, Calla and David Burgess, wanted to solve this problem.

“David was actually the one really pushing for them, but once we told them he was in hospice and had pulmonary fibrosis and gave them the records, it’s probably within months. that Susan Collins’ office sped up and got the medals to us,” Calla said.

“I’m really proud that we were able to do this for him. We were pushing forward for a while, and like I said, Susan Collins was really good about it. Their office was fantastic. But it’s something he should have had when he came out, and he has them now, and it makes us extremely proud that he has them,” said David Burgess, Drew’s son-in-law.

“Well, I think I earned them,” Drew said.

His other point of pride: his participation in the annual Bangor-Brewer Memorial Day parade and the cane that accompanies it.

“I’ve never missed one except the last one here with COVID, and we couldn’t march in the parade. So I have 24. I could have one this year, maybe 25,” Drew said.

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