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Woman presented with medals honoring brother’s sacrifice during WWII

by Candice Miller on June 23, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

By SEAN DELANEY
Source Staff Writer

http://www.sourcenewspapers.com/articles/2014/06/23/news/doc53a436613a17c237121851.txt

United States Rep. Candice Miller on June 16 presented Beverly Netzloff of Shelby Township with medals honoring the service and sacrifice of her late brother, William Netzloff Jr., a World War II veteran who was killed in action in 1944.

“This long-awaited acknowledgement comes less than two weeks after this country celebrated the 70th anniversary of D-Day where U.S. and allied troops stormed the heavily fortified beaches of Normandy – a major turning point in the war,” Miller said. “The brave troops that fought during WWII, including William Netzloff, are amongst the world’s greatest defenders of freedom and democracy. It was an honor to present Beverly with these medals on behalf of a nation eternally thankful for William’s service. He was truly part of this nation’s greatest generation.”

According to Miller, William Netzloff Jr. was 23 years old and working as a farm laborer in 1943 when he was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army during WWII.

“He shipped out without being able to say goodbye,” Miller said.

During the next three months, Netzloff fought in North Africa, Sicily and Rome during the war, and was fatally wounded in 1944 during the Battle of Anizo.

Originally buried in Naruto, Italy, William’s remains were later relocated in 1948 to the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.

“My mother decided we should have him home,” Beverly Netzloff said. “He arrived on Victory in Japan Day (Aug. 15), and all the soldiers from all of the bases were busy taking part in activities for VJ Day so we had no one to attend the funeral except our little family.”

In the decades that followed, Beverly Netzloff worked to ensure that her brother’s story of service and sacrifice would be shared.

“I tried in Detroit many times to have someone help me with the letters and telegrams, and I knew he had medals coming too,” she said. “But nothing was being done.”

After receiving no response, Beverly began to lose hope.

“Then, about 15 years ago, I moved to Shelby Township,” she said. “I heard about the township’s Memorial Day celebrations, so one day right after church I went to (township hall) and that’s when I met Deputy Supervisor Brad Bates and (Veterans Events Coordinator) Phil Randazzo.”

According to Randazzo, meeting Beverly inspired him to dedicate the township’s annual Memorial Day ceremony to her brother, the late William Netzloff Jr.

“She told me there were no honors for him when he came home four years after his death, so I wanted to do something to make (Beverly) feel very happy and very proud,” Randazzo said. “I wanted to give her closure.”

During the ceremony, William Netzloff Jr. was honored with a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.

“It was a full military honors ceremony,” Randazzo said.

The accolades continued June 16, as Miller presented the following medals to Beverly Netzloff, who accepted them on her brother’s behalf:

* Purple Heart

* Good Conduct

* European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal with three Bronze Service Stars

* WWII Victory Medal

* Gold Star Lapel Button

“It’s been great,” Beverly Netzloff said. “I just can’t believe all this is happening. I’m sure my brother is looking down and he’s very happy.”

Contact Sean Delaney at 586-323-8127 or sean.delaney@advisorsource.com. Follow him on Twitter @sdelaney81 or on Facebook at Sean Delaney. Subscribe to his Tout feed at www.tout.com/u/sdelaney81

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