Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — Beneath the gleaming new flagpole and in front of an appreciative crowd, local veterans were celebrated Sunday outside of the Orleans County Veterans Service Agency.
More than 30 veterans and active duty service members were present for the annual observance of Veterans Day in Orleans County. They were greeted with cheers, applause, flowers presented by students from Medina, Albion and Lyndonville.
For one family, the occasion served to remind them of the service their family gave 70 years ago. Veterans Service Agency Director Paul Fulcomer awarded Randy and David Nellist, the sons of the late Harry W. Nellist, with the medals their father earned in World War II — including five bronze stars.
A large group of Nellists came from all directions to be at the ceremony to remember a man who was a proud veteran — he never missed a parade — but a humble one.
“He never talked much about it until his later years,” Randy said. “He said he said some medals that he had earned, but we didn’t know until we went to the World War II Memorial.”
In all, he was posthumously awarded a Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Attachment (Quadruple), World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and Bronze Star Attachment, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button.
As a member of the 102nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, Company C, Nellist — who grew up in Somerset and graduated from Barker High School before enlisting in the April of 1941 — was part of one of the first units to be sent into combat following America’s entry into the Second World War.
While his brother Willard was among the men crossing Europe (another brother, Gerald, joined the service after the war and was stationed in occupied Japan), Harry’s unit served in Papua New Guinea, the East Indies and the southern Philippines; including the Battle of Leyte.