Local Hero Earns Purple Heart

Published 02/22 2014 08:40PM

Updated 02/24 2014 09:33AM

Deployments are never easy and for one local soldier, his deployment nearly cost him his life. Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Frese was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained about three years ago in Afghanistan.

Frese has served more than ten years in uniform and has been promoted to lieutenant, then captain. Now he’s a recipient of the Purple Heart.

"It was immediately a relief that I was being publicly recognized for what I knew I had gone through," said Frese.

Frese may look completely healthy but he suffers from ringing in his ears, black spots in his vision and short term memory loss amongst other issues.

It all stems from May 16th 2011. A day he'll never forget.

"We had three who were killed in action and my job was to lead memorial services," he said.

That day a large missile hit his tent causing an explosion. The enemy attacked, but Frese survived. Dozens gathered at the 122nd Fighter Wing to recognize his bravery. He describes the day as overwhelming, yet humbling.

"It was a feeling of being overwhelmed by what that really meant that I received the Purple Heart," he says. "I still don’t know exactly what it means except but that I’ve been put into a category with men and women who have been seriously injured and have died because of injuries at war and that's quite an overwhelming feeling."

Others in his unit received the Purple Heart posthumously. But he is here to receive it in person with his family watching.

"It was an overwhelming experience flying home knowing that I was going to see my wife and children again," said Frese.

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