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Honoring a hero: WWII vet, former POW gets Quilt of Valor surprise

Shealy served his country in WWII the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He lived as a POW for three and a half years. He was surprised with his own Quilt of Valor.
Credit: KCEN
Paul Shealy, WWII Veteran and former POW to be honored with a Quilts of Valor at Schoepf's BBQ in Belton

BELTON, Texas — You might remember Paul Shealy, a 97-year-old WWII hero from a story we did in May about his time as a prisoner of war.

RELATED: 97-year-old World War II veteran reflects on his time as a POW

Shealy served his country in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During World War II, he lived as a POW for three and a half years.

Shealy was awarded a Quilt of Valor on Wednesday, an honor bestowed upon veterans. The veteran is wrapped in honor quilts made specifically for them.

Stacy Clady, with the Texas Patriotic Piecemakers and the one awarding Shealy today, says the quilts are personal for her. 

Both her husband and son are in the military.

"It's always extra special," Clady said. "You think about your own family. You think about the things that my husband and my father-in-law, and what my son could potentially go through."

For Shealy, the ceremony was a surprise-- a surprise orchestrated by his wife, his son and his close friends.

"They said, 'We're going to go see Dr. Smith,'" Shealy said. "I thought, 'What in the hell am I going to to see Dr. Smith for?'"

Even with his suspicions, Shealy said he had no idea the surprise was coming.

"It's embarrassing to be put in that position," Shealy said. "It means a lot to me, don't get me wrong. I really appreciate it. It just catches you off guard."

Shealy spent some time after his lunch at Schoepf's BBQ, recalling stories of his days fighting the Japanese and of his time spent as a POW. 

He loves to tell those stories and never takes life too seriously these days.

When asked what his quilt meant to him, he was humbled.

"I'm speechless. You make me feel like I'm somebody that I'm not."

More from Shealy and Quilts of Valor:

RELATED: 17 veterans awarded Quilts of Valor

RELATED: Quilts of Valor honors local veteran, meteorologist

RELATED: Vietnam & Korea veteran awarded Quilt of Valor

RELATED: Fort Hood soldier awarded Quilt of Valor before deployment

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