Vera D'Arcy-Clarke never thought she'd see the day. The feisty 84-year-old accepted a Purple Heart and a Prisoner of War Medal on behalf of her late husband, Master Sergeant Edmund D'Arcy-Clarke.
Vera replied, "It's just so beautiful that we were able to do that for him because it grieved him so much that he didn't get that because he earned it."
In 1943 Master Sergeant D'Arcy-Clarke suffered shrapnel wounds when he was captured by the Germans in Africa. But his war injuries and the two years spent as a POW weren't noted when he retired from the US Army in 1963 so he never received his medals.
Congressman Devin Nunes of Tulare explained, "The main reason was they didn't have any record. There was fire that had destroyed a bunch of records in St. Louis which a lot of veterans have this problem."
When D'Arcy-Clarke died in 1997 Vera continued his fight for the medals he deserved. She said, "I was going to finish it but I was getting weary because I was getting older than dirt myself. I didn't know what to do anymore."
The family contacted Congressman Nunes' office. Staff member Kyle Turner was able to piece together the Master Sergeant's history and secure the medals.
Vera said, "I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it."
Oddly enough, Germany offered D'Arcy-Clarke's greatest joy. Vera explained, "People said how could you live there for two years and two months in a prison camp and then marry a German, are you crazy? He said, I'm going to make one miserable for the rest of her life."
He was kidding of course. Purple Heart in hand, Vera said she was going home to smile, smile, smile.
Master Sergeant D'Arcy-Clarke served in World War II, Korea and even Cambodia. The couple moved to Fresno to raise a family in 1967.