SALT LAKE CITY -- It was more than 12 years since his death, but on Friday, McKay Perkins finally received recognition for his heroic actions in World War II.
Sen. Orrin Hatch on Friday presented Perkins' daughter, Lorna Belnap, of Ogden, with six medals Perkins was supposed to receive after the war but never did. Perkins served in Troop G of the 1st Calvary Division in the Southern Philippine Campaign.
He was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign and Bronze Star; the World War II Victory Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon and Bronze Star; the World War II Honorable Service Lapel Button; and the Bronze Star Medal.
Fifteen of Perkins' children and grandchildren were present for the ceremony. Perkins died in 2000, and Belnap said seeing her father honored flooded her with emotion.
"It made me cry, just like it does now," she said. "He was such a good dad. It was really neat to let his children and grandchildren experience this."
After her mother's death last September, Belnap was going through her mothers' belongings and discovered documents indicating her father had earned military awards he had never been given. Perkins had shown Belnap his Expert Rifleman medal, but he had never mentioned any other awards.
"We kind of thought there should be others," Belnap said.
Once she stumbled onto the documents, Belnap asked Hatch for help getting her father the awards.
"We would cherish them and use them as reminders of the cost of freedom and the role our father played in World War II defending our freedoms," Belnap told Hatch at the time, according to the release. "The medals would create opportunities for us to talk with our children and grandchildren about the importance of the Constitution and the difficulties of maintaining our freedom."
Belnap said Perkins was 25 years old when he was inducted into the army in June 1944 and was honorably discharged in February 1946. When he came home from the war, he didn't talk much about what he'd seen, but Belnap said he would have been proud Friday.
"He would have been really pleased to know his family knew of his heroics and bravery," she said. "He would have liked to receive them while he was alive, but he'd want his family to know his love for his country."