Fruitport to honor Medal of Honor recipients

Duane Dewey said he didn't think before he scooped an exploding grenade under his right hip to save his comrades in the Korean War. The West Michigan-native was the first to receive the Medal of Honor from President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 and one of two known recipients of the award from Muskegon County. Dewey was already injured from a grenade that exploded behind his left heel. As someone worked to remove the shrapnel from his leg, the second one rolled next to him.
Lydia Coutré
May 25, 2011


“My first impulse was to get rid of it, but I didn’t think I could get it out of reach of my own men because I was laying flat on my back,” Dewey said.

Dewey, who was a corporal in U.S. Marines at the time, said he was just trying to protect his men.

Alexander McHale, also of Muskegon County, received the Medal of Honor in 1864 for his actions in the Civil War when he captured a Confederate Flag. McHale was a sergeant for the Union army.

“Unit flags on both sides were protected with one’s life,” said Max Riekse of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Fruitport post. “They usually pick the individual who is the bravest and the most capable person to carry and protect the flag. So to capture one’s flag from another unit, the person had to overcome a lot of obstacles and it was a great honor for capturing the enemy’s flag.”

Fruitport Village Council and the VFW raised the money to install a $1,000 bronze plaque in the village’s Veterans Park to honor Dewey and McHale. The plaque has been in place for about a month and will be unveiled in a ceremony recognizing both individuals at 2 p.m. Saturday as a part of Fruitport Old Fashioned Days.

To read more of this story, see today’s print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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