Mike Crestohl, W1RC, writes:
On April 30 2022, a very special presentation was made by Paul DePetrillo, W1PRA, to Michael “Mickey” O’Keefe, NV1C, at NEAR-Fest XXXI in Deerfield NH.
NV1C is a Marine Corps veteran and a survivor of the Chosen Reservoir battles in Korea in 1950. Several years ago Paul met him at NEAR-Fest and awarded him a Lifetime Pass for his service. Last February at the Marlborough (MA) flea market I spotted a book on Mickey’s table called “Give Me Tomorrow” about the Marines with whom he served in Korea. The photo on the cover depicted a Marine, cold and hungry but obviously still hopeful. “That’s me!” Mickey exclaimed.
Some research revealed that the photo originally appeared in the December 25th 1950 issue of Life Magazine. I searched online and found the article which I forwarded to Paul who showed it to Bob Curran, an artist friend of his. Bob was so impressed by the picture that he felt compelled to recreate the powerful image in a beautiful painting.
At the NEAR-Fest Closing Ceremony April 30th 2022 Paul presented Bob’s painting to Mickey. Obviously taken by surprise and almost speechless NV1C commented: I am no hero; I am a survivor.”
We beg to differ. All our service people who served in foreign conflicts are heroes. To honor their service NEAR-Fest has created a special award; a Lifetime Pass to our Hamfest to any amateur who has been awarded a military decoration “of distinction” like a Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, etc. For more information contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.