By: Hannah Paczkowski
Nearly 70 years ago, Helen Minarick heard a knock at the door that would change her life forever. The memory of that day replayed in the minds of those close to her.
"I remember her saying that every day a service man came to someone's door. She said she remembers that so plain, she said every day the wives would be sitting outside with kids and they would see a military man pull up. When the military man came to the door she knew," Helen's daughter Carol Lukowski said.
In 1944, Helen's husband, Private Joe Alberico, was killed in action during WWII in Holland. He was 22-years-old.
Helen never received the medals Joe earned in battle and she never though she would ever get that piece of her late husband back.
"When we were talking about it, we said 'don't you want those medals?' And my mother said 'it's too late now, it's too late," Lukowski said.
Though Joe wasn't their father, Helen's children felt it was important to honor the man who first stole their mother's heart. On Monday, Helen held on to the memory of her late-husband as she was presented Joe's medals, including a Purple Heart, to thank him for his service and sacrifice.
An emotional surprise that Helen's daughter said will help provide closure to heart-breaking story.
"I felt like it was Joe's last journey, last thing undone and it's done," Lukowski said.