By Jennifer Villaume
USAREC, Baton Rouge Battalion
May 23, 2016
Baton Rouge Company Commander Cpt. Victor Alexander presented the Purple Heart to a Korean War veteran May 6.
Army Sgt. Donald Barriner received the Purple Heart for injuries he received in the Korean War.
"It is one of the most wonderful days of our lives," Barriner's wife, Barbara, said of her husband. "I am proud, so proud."
Barriner enlisted in 1950 as a heavy machine gunner with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
He was wounded by missile fire while fighting enemy forces in Kumsong Valley, Korea, May 18, 1951. Three years later, Pfc. Barriner was medically retired by the Army.
"We are pleased that he received his award even if it is 64 years overdue," Alexander said. "My Soldiers and I are honored to take part in such a prestigious award ceremony.Without sacrifice of men like him, I would not be able to serve in the world's greatest Army and have our freedoms."
The Purple Heart is awarded for wounds sustained while in action against the enemy or as a result of hostile action.
Barriner also received the Republic of Korea War Service Medal for his role in preserving the freedom of the Korean people.
Belinda Hill, case manager for the Disabled American Veterans Office in New Orleans and a former Baton Rouge Battalion commander, was instrumental in securing Barriner's award.
"I ... believe that veterans should help other veterans - never leave one behind," Hill said. "I am dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high quality lives with respect and dignity.
"I met Mr. Barriner and his wife at one of our mobile service office stops at the Magnolia Veterans Home. Mr. Barriner fought for his country during the Korean War and this medal is long overdue."
Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden's office also presented Barriner with a certificate proclaiming May 6 Donald Barriner Day.
Barriner worked as a machinist after retirement. Highschool sweethearts, he and his wife have been married 59 years. They have three children, seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.