CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 70 years after he was honorably discharged, 100-year-old U.S. Navy veteran Everett Edgar Grist received several well-deserved medals for his service during World War II.
“I never thought I would get medals!” Grist said surprisingly.
Grist served as a gunner’s mate on two ships in the Atlantic. He was deployed to Italy, France and England during World War II.
After being discharged, Grist went home to his wife. The couple now resides in Scituate. Their son asked U.S. Senator Jack Reed for help in finding medals Grist may have earned during his service.
“I thought maybe he had some medals coming but I wasn’t sure. That’s why I called and got the ball rolling on that,” Donald Grist said.
Now, just after his 100th birthday and surrounded by his family, Grist was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Honorable Service Lapel Pin.
“We are all lucky today to be able to thank you and pay tribute to you,” Reed said.
Even after several decades since the war, Grist still remembers his fellow servicemembers who died.
“I went in the service and did my duty and for almost three years, I’ve been through a lot of stuff,” Grist said. “But I made it and feel sorry for the fellas that didn’t.”
Grist also served as a volunteer firefighter for the Chopmist Hill Fire Department. He and his wife recently celebrated their 79th wedding anniversary.