94-year-old World War II Navy veteran surprised with local hero award

Published: Oct. 11, 2020 at 6:15 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - After serving as a Navy veteran in World War II, 94-year-old Stanley J. Jurek of South Bend was surprised and honored on Sunday with the “Hero Award” by Homes for Heroes for his long and dedicated service.

“I was wondering what’s going on. I just want to thank everybody for what they are doing over here," Jurek said after receiving the award.

Along with the new hardware, also came a flag presentation and honor guard by the American Legion Riders Post 357. It was a moment that meant just as much to its members as it did to the man they were honoring.

“This is one of our greatest honors to honor any type of veteran but to be able to do a world war ii veteran, I mean, it’s gets you right there," director of the American Legion Riders Wayne Zwierzynski said pointing to his heart.

It was also a moment to remember for Jurek’s daughter, Debbie Kominowski, and son, Ray Jurek, who kept the surprise award a secret for weeks.

“My dad was shocked, very shocked," Ray Jurek said. “We love him. He means everything to us. They have been great parents,” Kominowski tearfully added.

Jurek says he is thankful and proud knowing his children, and his community, are recognizing his service nearly 70 years later.

“It means a lot to me. People respected what I did. I wish I could be doing it again. Just thank you everybody. Thank you everybody," Jurek said.

While receiving the hero award is a great accomplishment, Jurek says he also looks forward to celebrating another milestone this Tuesday -- his 69-year-wedding anniversary.

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