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Small community attempts to 'make it right' for Michigan soldier whose medals came late

Update 5/29/13: This story has been corrected to reflect Wright’s rank as Specialist, not Sergeant. Wright misrepresented his rank during the formal event.  

Memorial Day was particularly special for an injured Iraqi war veteran from Allegan.

Hundreds huddled close at Oakwood Cemetery Monday morning. Some wept as Amy Wright finally pinned a Purple Heart on her husband’s uniform. He kneeled so his 7-year old daughter Torin could pin on the other one.

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
News cameras come in for a close up as Amy Wright pins a Purple Heart on her husband Jason's uniform. Their daughter Torin and Congressman Fred Upton watch nearby.

35-year old Specialist Jason Wright served in the Army and the Marines. He suffered a number of injuries while deployed in Iraq.

His metals came four years late... and in the mail.

Amy was disappointed at the lack of fanfare.

“But this is great,” Amy Wright said after the ceremony. “It’s filling in the holes. I just wanted to make my husband feel recognized and know that, not just me, but everybody is welcoming him home.”

Wright sustained ankle and back injuries when his Humvee was blown up by a roadside bomb. He survived when a rocket propelled grenade hit his truck, flipping it more than a dozen times. Plus, there was the time Wright says he “went through a concrete wall” after a fuel tanker exploded outside of a compound where he was resting.

“Getting (the medals) in front of my unit is pretty special but to have my family here to do it and actually have my wife pin my metals on me and my daughter, that kind of gets you in the heart a little bit more,” Wright said.

Some of his family members came from as far away as South Carolina to attend the ceremony.

“We’re trying to make it right for Jason Wright,” Congressman Fred Upton explained to the crowd.

He says Wright is eligible for some ten medals.

“This is a guy that probably shouldn’t have come back with the injuries he suffered,” Upton said, “We’re so glad he’s here serving with us in the greatest nation on the face of the earth.”

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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