Willie Belton, a veteran of the Korean War, was honored in a special ceremony in Jennings today.
During the program, Belton was presented with the Louisiana Medal of Honor. In the Korean War, Belton was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He saved a life, and was shot three times while doing so, his daughter tells KATC.
Belton, 86, was one of 12 children. He was a trained barber and long-time businessman in Acadiana, operating three barber shops and several other businesses. During his working years he sold cars and insurance, and worked in the landscaping, music and real estate industries, Fran Simon says.
He also was active in the Civil Rights Movement, and marched three times with Martin Luther King. He was in the 1963 March on Washington, in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, and the 1966 march from Memphis to Jackson.
Today, he has four children, 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, Simon said. More than 60 people, including family and friends, were able to attend the ceremony, she said.
“People do remember,” she said. “After he had his stroke, he would say “I hope people don’t forget me. I just hope people don’t forget me.” But today, almost every person there stood up and had a memory of what he did for them. It was overwhelming, listening to those stories.”
Simon said her father really enjoyed the event, especially seeing his family and friends.
“He was just soaking it all up,” she said.
Belton’s family created a video showcasing his life and achievements. Watch below: