"He gave his life:" Civil War soldier from Delafield gets Medal of Honor

DELAFIELD (WITI) -- A 94-year-old woman has been fighting for decades to see a Civil War soldier honored for his sacrifice on the battlefield.

If you're from Delafield you might recognize the name "Cushing," but you may not know the story of the man behind the name.

Sitting along the Bark River, Margaret Zerwekh feels a special connection to the man who lived on the land a century and a half ago.  Since she moved to Delafield in the 1980s, Zerwekh has held a deep respect for Alonzo Cushing, whose face is carved into a monument in Cushing Memorial Park.

Alonzo Cushing was born along the Bark River in 1841.  A lieutenant during the Civil War, Cushing's actions during the Battle of Gettysburg helped secure a victory for the Union.

"Leading his 110 men and six cannons, he was gravely wounded a number of times and his unit was decimated by artillery fire.  Instead of retreating, Alonzo asked for permission for move his gun forward.  As he was growing weaker, he wouldn't desert his men or his position," said David Krueger of Delafield.

At 22-years-old, Cushing's life ended on the battle field.

Cushing's legacy lives on in Delafield at Cushing Memorial Park, Cushing Road and Cushing Elementary School.  At Gettysburg, there's a stone monument marking the place he died.

Zerwekh was troubled by the honor Cushing never received: the Medal of Honor.

"He gave his life and he was not recognized at the time, " said Zerwekh.

In 1987, Margaret started petitioning lawmakers.  She has a folder filled with decades of correspondence.

The Medal of Honor was not awarded posthumously during the Civil War.  Thanks to Zerwekh, Congress just passed some new legislation.  It makes it possible to waive the requirement that Medal of Honor recommendations be made within two years and awarded within three.

Cushing is being awarded the Medal of Honor this fall.

The U.S. Army will accept the medal on Cushing's behalf.  Where the medal will end up is unclear.  Zerwekh thinks it should go to Delafield so it can be on display.