Family Receives Soldier’s Purple Heart

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A military sacrifice was made more than 70 years here in Lackawanna County. In order to help his family, one solider had to sacrifice a medal. On Friday, his family was repaid for his sacrifice.

William Myack of Scranton was injured during World War II and received a Purple Heart. When he got back home, he had to sell that medal to provide for his family. Now after years of work, his family has finally received a replacement.

This Purple Heart was closure for Ronald Skamanich, his mother, and the rest of his family. The medal was given to them in honor of William Myack inside Linwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scranton.

"It took 75 years to get his medal for him and because it bothered her for 75 years," said Ronald Skamanich, William Myack's nephew.

Skamanich says his Uncle William was injured on December 3, 1944, in Europe while serving with the U.S. Army. Myack received a Purple Heart at the time, but after returning to Scranton without a job or money, Myack sold his Purple Heart to a collector in order to feed his family

"We can't fathom that today because we have so much, but my aunt says her husband came home from the war, there were no jobs, no money. She sold her wedding band for food."

William Myack passed away in 1984, and for years his family tried to get back his Purple Heart.

Finally, with help from the office of Congressman Matt Cartwright, it happened.

Veteran Christopher Graza presented the medal to Myack's sister, 94-year-old Mary Skamanich.

"The older that these World War II veterans get, the harder it gets to be to present them with these medals," said Graza, a veteran liaison for Rep. Cartwright.

"There was no credit, no help like we have today, and those veterans never asked for anything. They never complained. They did what they had to do. It is America's greatest generation," Skamanich said.

Mary Skimanich plans to keep the Purple Heart in the family by giving the medal to her grandson who served in the Army.

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