(08/27/13) - He was injured while serving our country in Vietnam.
But it wasn't until Tuesday that the Army veteran got the medal he earned more than 40 years ago.
Specialist Douglas Morgan was hurt in a helicopter crash in July 1968. Fast forward to 2013, and he's finally being honored for his service.
It's not everyday that U.S. Senator Carl Levin comes to the VFW Hall in Linden, but this was a mission the chairman of the Armed Services Committee just had to complete.
"This is one of the best parts of my job, is when we're able to honor people who have served this country," Levin said.
Nearly every seat was taken. Everyone here has their own story.
Douglas Morgan's starts in 1968, when he was serving in Vietnam with the Army's Special Forces.
Morgan had just eaten lunch with a high school friend. "I said, 'Well Dave, I've got to get back to war'," he said.
He boarded a helicopter for a life-changing flight.
"About a half an hour later, I was rolling down the side of a mountain," he said.
Battered from head to toe, this moment should have happened many years ago.
"Most damage was to my right leg, right kidney, forehead, had scars on my face. I got pretty beat up," he said.
When he finally decided it was time to get his Purple Heart, his records were nowhere to be found.
"My simple office, you know, I can misfile something in the file drawer, I can't imagine what it's like for the Army," Morgan said.
Doug tried to untangle the red tape on his own.
"Thought it'd be just simply a couple of letters, go in your file. But then to find out along the way my file is missing," he said.
That's when he turned to Sen. Levin's office.
"God love him, went back a third time," Morgan said.
Finally, the paperwork was found.
Now 45 years later, this Vietnam veteran finally has the medal he earned as a teenager - along with some "senior" perks.
"Something silly, but as a Purple Heart recipient, you get a few extra benefits, such as optical care. So I said, 'Hey, I'm getting the age now where I don't want to buy my own glasses," Morgan said.
Doug's recovery kept him in the hospital for about five months in 1968.
ABC12 Main Station