Thomaston WWII veteran honored by community members

THOMASTON, Maine (WABI) - A World War II veteran from Thomaston is being honored by members of the community.

The Purple Heart recipient is believed to be one of the last known survivors of Darby's Rangers.

"I broke my back when I was two."

It's not every day you get to sit and speak to someone about how they had to fight to get into the miltary to be a soldier in World War Two due to a childhood injury.

But Lloyd Richards can tell you all about it.

"I had to do some fighting to get it. But I went in."

The 97-year-old lives in Thomaston now with his wife, Shirley, but he can also tell you about being a staff sergeant stationed in Africa as a member of Darby's Rangers.

"I joined them at Casablanca."

The Purple Heart recipient has many stories of his time at war. Some told with a smile.

"Every morning you got up and you had a log and you'd take it like that up over your shoulder and down like this."

Some told with pain.

"I was wounded up on a mountain. When you was up there, you never had a doctor. So, people ask me today, 'you got any shrapnel in yah?' I says I'm probably full of it."

"I didn't really think that he'd been honored. Something got stirred up within me that said we're going to honor this guy," said Peter Scheff.

The pastor at Lloyd's church, Scheff, knows firsthand what that recognition means. He's a Vietnam veteran himself.

"I think there's a hole in the heart that can only be filled by appreciation and thanks, you know?"

He wanted to send him to Washington DC on an Honor Flight, but Lloyd was told he couldn't travel because he has terminal cancer. So, Lloyd will have the top spot on a new honor roll at his church in Searsmont.

"It will be a memorial that we never forget. And I don't want anybody to ever forget the people that have protected our country."

Lloyd will also be celebrated by the Thomaston American Legion.

"He is going to become a member of our post June 6th, which is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Even though Lloyd personally didn't make that particular invasion, he made five others and survived it all. So, our intention of our post is to honor him for his service," said Jeff Wright.

"It's important that somebody keeps these memories alive no matter how far back they go," said George Robinson.

Accolades this veteran is certainly deserving of.

"I'm some lucky. Yes, sir. I am happy."

The honor roll should be completed at the Abundant Grace Church in Searsmont by the end of this month. the legion celebration is in June.