Correcting an omission 70 years in the making, the American Legion Post in West Unity finally bears the name of a hero.
Post 669 dedicated its building to the memory of Leroy W. “Junior” Wyse in a special evening ceremony Nov. 11. The post will now be known as the Junior Wyse Post 669.
The group was chartered 70 years ago and should have probably bore Wyse’s name from the start, Post Commander Phil Stotz said.
“It took 70 years to rename it,” Stotz said reading from the official document. “This is the absolute formal acknowledgment that the post has been renamed.”
Wyse’s niece, Donna Colgrove, represented the family and talked about learning about what Junior Wyse went through. She was just a baby when he died and did not remember him.
What she knows comes from her older siblings who were taught how to count to 10 in Japanese by their uncle, Colgrove said.
“I am thankful for all the Legion did,” Colgrove said.
West Unity Mayor Peg Bernath read the proclamation used when the village dedicated Aug. 21, 2016, as “Leroy W. Wyse Day.” Wyse served in the Army from 1941-45 and survived a Japanese POW camp after being captured in The Philippines.
He suffered inhumane treatment at the hands of the Japanese as a prisoner of war, Bernath said. He was a forced laborer and the injuries he suffered led to his sooner-than-expected death after the war.
The post’s longest-serving member, Willard Miller, who has been on the roster for more than 60 years, played “Taps.”
“He’s been the backbone of the post,” Stotz said.
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