Medal of Honor Recipient: A Moving Story of Valor and Gallantry

In commemoration of Veteran’s Day, Downers Grove Lion’s Club held a very special luncheon on November 14th at Oak Trace Senior Living in Downers Grove to honor the memory of Medal of Honor winner, Fred Faulkner Lester. In attendance were Lions Club members, the American Legion, former Mayor Betty Cheevers, Township staff and local agency representatives. Many were former veterans themselves and/or family members of veterans.

Principal Carin Novak, featured speaker from Downers Grove’s Lester School (Lester’s namesake) shared Fred’s moving story. The Destroyer Escort USS Lester (retired 1973) and Camp Lester, in Chatan, Okinawa was also named in his honor.

Dr. Floyd Mizener, Township Senior Advisory Committee member, long-time resident and Lions Club member, felt it was important to acknowledge Fred’s contribution and pay tribute to his sacrifice for a new generation of young people. Dr. Mizener also attended Downers Grove High School with Fred Lester.

Fred Faulkner Lester was killed in action on June 8, 1945 on Okinawa during World War II. He was attached to the1st Battalion, 22nd Marines, 6th Division as a Navy Medical Corpsman. Fred utilized not only his medical skills, but also, most astoundingly of all, his sense of duty and selflessness to ensure that his brothers in battle had the chance to make it home safely.

The Okinawa campaign, often referred to as “hell on earth” by those who served, was an unimaginable rain of bullets and explosives from machine guns, rifles and grenades. While Fred’s company participated in a relentless assault against a Japanese hill position, Fred spotted a wounded marine lying in an open field. He crawled toward the marine sustaining mortal wounds from enemy rifles during a heavy barrage, and yet managed to drag the wounded soldier back to a covered position. He then instructed 2 squad members on how to assist this soldier and two others with proper medical treatment, while calmly and determinedly refusing treatment for himself. Fred died from his wounds, but his legacy of fortitude lives on in those who followed ( 11/16/17).

“The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress ( 11/16/17).” 3500 recipients have received this award since its inception in 1862, with many awarded posthumously.

Let us remember the very real and supreme sacrifices our neighbors and fellow citizens have made to preserve and protect the fragile freedom we enjoy to this day.

Cathy Rager
Senior Services Coordinator
Phone: 630-719-6686


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