PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Over the past two decades the Navy has been reviewing records of all World War II Navy veterans and ensuring they or their families receive the medals and honors they deserved and earned. One of those families identified is from Panama City.
The family of Gunners Mate 2nd Class Wheeler Raymond Ervin was presented with the Purple Heart , the Navy Commendation Medal and several other awards he earned but never received before his discharge in 1946.
Accepting the awards from Naval Support Activity Commander Jay Sego was Ervin's daughter, Nicole Parker, her husband, Terry Parker, and grandson, Kris Parker.
Ervin served as an armed guard on the Liberty Ship William W. Gerhard when he was wounded during an enemy attack in 1943. He was discharged from the Navy in 1946.
His daughter Nicole said, "He served his country, he tried to protect his country, you know, for us he was a hero."
His grandson Kris was also amazed at what his grandfather had been through, saying, "I'm extremely proud of him to know that, what he did actually in World War II. I was just kind of taken away to find out what actually happened to him, because I didn't know what happened to him."
The family was surprised when they were notified about the awards since Ervin rarely if ever talked about his time in the service.