Local veteran recognized for WWII service 68 years later

Local veteran recognized for WWII service 68 years later

ABILENE, Texas - The Veteran's Administration estimates that 1,000 World War II vets are dying every day. Many of them unrecognized for their service to our county.

Private First Class Francisco J. Loza's family saw their father's accomplishments honored Monday, 68 years late.

Loza passed away in 2006. He served on the front lines during World War II. His son, Frank Loza Jr., said that's where he was injured.

"He was wounded a couple of times actually. He was wounded once in Italy and he was wounded in France also. He was shot in the arm that we know of once and he was shot in the legs. So he was hurting everyday of his life after the war," said Loza Jr. 

Most soldiers injured during battle receive a Purple Heart, but Loza never got his. Loza Jr. said if it wasn't for a family friend who started searching through his father's documents six months ago, he never would have.

"He would never talk to us about the war, he just, he would never say nothing about it. I always wondered where he really served and what he really did. You know, I didn't know if I really wanted to know, you know, stuff like that, but after finding out all this, it's great. It's something I'll cherish the rest of my life," said Loza Jr.

Congressman Randy Neugebauer presented Loza Jr. a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star in his fathers name Monday.

"My father's one of many that needed to be honored. There's a lot of soldiers that went over there with him that were not honored. So we're grateful that he was honored," Loza Jr. said.

Loza Jr. said his father was a humble man and probably would not have sought the recognition anyway.

"He would probably not want it you know he would probably say I don't deserve this but of course we know he did," said Loza Jr. 

Loza was 85 when he passed away. He is buried at Elmwood cemetery.

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