WWII veteran receives Bronze Star on anniversary of D-Day

PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- Friends and family gathered at Grande Prairie Health and Rehab on Thursday, June 6th, as WWII Army Sergeant Todd Olson received a Bronze Star.

The honor was given to Olson on the anniversary of D-Day and nearly 70 years after he was shipped off to war. Not only did Olson fight in the Battle of the Bulge, he is credited with stalling the quickly advancing Germans and was also taken prisoner by the Nazis.

The years have robbed Olson of the ability to speak, but his family knows the story well.

When Olson and his squad became trapped, he radioed not for a rescue, but for an air strike.

"The knew they were going to be captured," says Olson's daughter, Connie Vanoosten. "But it was quite a heroic thing to do, to call in the air strike."

The radioman never relayed the message, so the air strike never happened. Instead, Olson was taken prisoner and survived.

"We're glad," says Vanoosten.

Olson's family gathered around as the Bronze Star was pinned on his chest and the veteran was presented with a plaque.

"Oh my gosh the family is just over flowing with pride," said Mary Ellen Casey, Olson's daughter.

The family says their father deserved the honor so they applied for the award and made a case for Olson. The response was a quick "yes!"