Hershel “Woody” Williams leaves a lasting impression on Mercer County

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:04 PM EDT
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MERCER COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Hershel “Woody” Williams was originally from the community of Quiet Dell in Harrison County, West Virginia. However Williams is described as anything but quiet. He received a Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at one of the bloodiest battles in the south pacific. Where he took out a number of enemy machine gun nests armed with a flamethrower and his will to get the job done.

“He went out. He just started knocking them all out. He was under such intense fire, he had four marines that were tasked to protect him. Two of the four marines were killed just giving him covering fire. Woody Williams couldn’t have been but 130 pounds and five foot six inches tall. He was just one of the biggest men that I ever knew,” said SFC. (Ret.) Paul Dorsey.

Williams stood equally as tall off the battlefield. Using his will and determination to push for representation for the men and women who’ve served in the military. The Woody Williams Foundation has placed over 100 gold star families memorial monuments in all 50 state and U.S. Territories.

“It’s just selflessness. I’m kind of embarrassed to even stand here and talk about him like that. All veterans who have known him and anybody who’s ever met him would come away feeling the same way,” said Dorsey.

Bluefield, West Virginia’s City Ambassador Marie Blackwell met Williams in Washington D.C. on an always free honor flight for veterans. She and Dorsey say allowing Williams to lie in state would hold great significance for an entire generation of veterans.

“He did not like a lot of attention drawn to him. He was such a fine man that I think it would be the right thing to do,” said Blackwell.

“It would be tremendously symbolic and I think very appropriate. The original bill was for whoever was the last world war two medal of honor recipient would be. It wasn’t about woody,” said Dorsey.

Williams not only received the Medal of Honor but also a Purple Heart among other awards.

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