Local vet honored with Purple Heart

Donald Keller, 93, a World War II Army veteran from Strasburg, was presented with a Purple Heart by Commissioner John L. Newby II, of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, at a recent ceremony in Strasburg. Photo courtesy of Deanna Boyer

Donald Keller, 93, of Strasburg, a World War II Army veteran, was presented with a Purple Heart by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at a recent ceremony in Strasburg.

Keller served as a radio operator for combat engineers and later retired from a career working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He received two Purple Hearts for his service during the war – the first after he was injured in Normandy, France, and the second while serving in Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge.

Keller said the recent VA ceremony made his second Purple Heart official, since it had never officially been presented to him by a member of the VA. Keller said the second medal arrived in a mail about 5 1/2 years ago, along with four other medals he had earned throughout his service.

Members of the Strasburg office planned the ceremony after he contacted them for more information on the second Purple Heart.

Keller said he might even be entitled to another medal honoring his bravery at Normandy on July 7, 1944. Though he, himself, was wounded by shrapnel to his face and chest, he helped save the lives of two badly injured fellow soldiers when he brought back help to carry the men to safety.