By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
More than 60 years later, Keizer’s Robert Robison finally got his Purple Hearts.
In a special ceremony at the governor’s office Feb. 21, the emotional 82-year-old was feted for continuing to serve in the U.S. Army despite being shot twice.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Robison said after receiving his medals.
While serving in the Korean War, Private 1st Class Robison was shot in the chest on March 25, 1951.
“He was treated and returned to combat duty,” said Joe Reynoso from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA). “Two months later, he was shot in the left leg. His time in the war zone was over.”
By August 1951 Robison had recovered and was honorably discharged. He married wife Barbara on Nov. 1 of that year and continued to serve in the Army until 1957.
“For too long, the Korean War has been the forgotten war,” said Cameron Smith, director of ODVA. “We stand here today to say that we do remember. Today we remember the service and sacrifice of Mr. Bob Robison.”
After his time serving, Robison became an iron worker in California in 1959. He moved his family to Oregon in 1969, soon moving to Keizer where he’s lived the past 43 years. He retired as a foreman in 1996.
Rep. Kim Thatcher of Keizer honored Robison on the House floor prior to the ceremony.
“One of the best parts of being a representative is having constituents like this,” Thatcher said, motioning to Robison. “It makes you proud to have such people in your district. He is such a great example.”
Joe Egli, president of the Keizer City Council, noted how Robison’s story mirrored his father’s story.
“It’s about quiet, ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things,” Egli said. “They are leading by example. Keizer is the home of pride, spirit and volunteerism. You fit right in. Thank you for all you’ve done.”
Smith pinned the medals on Robison, while Robison’s son Ed presented Barbara with a Purple Heart necklace.
Robison said it wasn’t too hard to hear someone else talk about what he went through in war.
“When I went over there, I was pretty young,” he said. “When I got shot through the chest, the machine gunner got killed. That’s who they go after, the guys with the automatic weapons.”
An emotional Barbara loved the necklace presented by her son.
“It is the most wonderful thing,” she said. “It’s beautiful. I’m speechless. This ranks high among the highlights for us. It’s fantastic to have all this family here.”
Daughter Cindy Hepting was pleased to see her dad honored, more than six decades after being injured in action.
“Our family is honored that dad is getting this recognition,” Hepting said. “He is so deserving. He is proud to have served his country during wartime and continued that commitment to service when he came home. We are grateful he is finally receiving these medals and we are just very thankful to everyone involved in arranging this special ceremony.”