Mid-South Vietnam vets medals replaced after fire

Jimmy Newton, with his medals.
Jimmy Newton, with his medals.

By Chip Washington - bio | email

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South veteran of the Vietnam conflict has regained the medals he once lost in a house fire.

Jimmy Newton was only 18-years-old when he decided to enlist in the Army. Today, at 59, he lives a quiet life with his brother and family in Southaven.

Newton received a total of six medals while serving in Vietnam, but they were all destroyed in a fire several years ago.  Tuesday, those medals were replaced with the help of Congressman Travis Childers' office.

"It was important to me," Newton said. "I wanted something to leave behind that my sons could have."

The medals were presented to Newton during a ceremony on the steps of the Hernando courthouse.  Newton, who served as a combat medic and member of the 101st Airborne, said his deployment was a frightening time.

"After the first two weeks, you make it thru and you'll be alright," he said. "They say it's best to get it in the first three days, and wait 'till the last day to get killed."

Newton has to use a wheelchair because of shrapnel in his knees.  He says many of his comrades who died in the conflict were not treated with respect when they came back home, but attitudes have since changed for the better.

"I hope all veterans that fought in wars or are fighting right now all over the world - my heart goes out to them, because you don't know what war is until your in one," he said.

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