"This is a generation that we need to take advantage of and get to know and thank them for their service," says General Burch.
At 86 years old retired World War II Navy Veteran Gene Stump is finally getting that thank you.
"I'm overwhelmed. I'm just full of gratitude. I'm a pretty emotional guy and I just hope I don't break down during the ceremony," says Stump.
It was a labor of love that brought Gene to this moment. 66 years after his honorable discharge from the Navy he's receiving his service medals.
"I had tried several times to get them through the process but finally my niece, I gave her power of attorney, after two and a half, no I guess almost 4 years she was able to get them for me," says Stump.
Gene says they ran out of medals when he was discharged in 1946.
Over time he and his family moved around with no forwarding address he assumes the medals were simply lost in the mail.
But Saturday afternoon it was his moment to shine.
General Burch presented gene with 5 medals for his time in service.
"It's about to overwhelm me. You know I really appreciate it and my family has really done all of the work. My daughters and my son and his wife, they prepared the food and got everything ready. They tried to surprise me but I was kind of contrary on them and they had to tell me to proceed with it," says Stump.
Now that he has them, what's he going to do with them?
"I haven't really decided on that. When they put them on I can't leave them on forever I know, but I suppose I'll display them somewhere prominent in my house where I can see them every day," he says.