BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – Deep within the regal Oak trees of Bluffton lies a member of the Greatest Generation.
Though, if you ask Donald Quadt, 93, if he considers himself great, he’d quickly show his humility and grit.
“You gotta do what you gotta do,” he declared repeatedly among family and friends on Friday.
The group of family and friends came from across the country to honor Quadt. Something that was long over-due but right one time in the same breath.
CPL Donald Quadt served in the Army during WWII. While he served less than three years, he made the most of it.
He was 18-years-old during D-Day and fought German soldiers alongside his fellow army men on Omaha Beach.
From there he continued to survive and fight for the Allied Forces, even managing a tank and helping to liberate a concentration camp before retiring. Of the nearly 200 people he fought with in his company, only six men came home.
His family says he came home and, like many, didn’t share many details about his time in the service–until a few years ago.
Once moving to Bluffton to live with his daughter, Debbie, he began to open up and share stories. His daughter said he wanted to see about getting a Purple Heart after he told her he was wounded while serving in Europe.
She began doing research and filling a mound of paperwork. She also reached out to Congressman Mark Sanford’s office for help.
After years of work and nearly 75 years after his time in the Army, Quad was honored on Friday for his service.
Sanford presented him with four medals, including the Bronze Star and the World War II Victory Medal.
“It was surprised to me,” Quadt said of the ceremony. “I thought I was getting one medal and they kept on bringing them out and I said oh boy! This is good.”
Quadt also shared of his encounter of General George Patton which included a handshake and words of affirmation.
“I recognized him right away and he and i start talking and I thought he was going to be all grumpy like how you usually show him. But he wasn’t he was great,” Quadt said. “He was great to me.”
Now decades later, hundreds are now learning how ‘great’ Quadt really was on the battlefield as a solider and leader.
He and his family are still continuing to work on obtaining a Purple Heart for Quadt.