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Tupelo Soldier Honored With Purple Heart

Posted by Steve Rogers | July 16, 2012 / 08:26am | Local News, Faith & Family
By Sheena Barnett/NE Miss Daily Journal and Staff Reports
TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) -- Receiving the purple heart is one of the highest honors for anyone serving in the military. Sunday, a fallen Tupelo soldier received his hero's honor.

Sgt. Joshua Sheffield, 29, died in 2011 after serving in the United States Army for nearly eight years. In 2006, he suffered concussions in four separate IED attacks in Iraq, and those injuries ultimately led to the brain cancer that took his life. On Sunday, his commander, Capt. David Bryant, presented his parents, Lisa and John Sheffield, with the Purple Heart Award at the American Legion Post 49. Sheffield's 3-year-old son Seth also attended the ceremony.

John Sheffield thanked those in attendance for remembering his son.

"He let us know he wanted (the award) before he passed, not just for himself, but for his son," John Sheffield said. "Thank you for remembering my son and honoring him."

Retired Maj. Gen. Bob Chesnut said Sheffield and soldiers of his generation are outstanding in the nation's history.

"They are the best of the best. They are truly our national treasure," he said. "History will show this generation is probably our strongest generation because of their ongoing service."

Chesnut spoke of Sheffield's heroic service on the battlefield and thanked his family for his sacrifice.

Despite suffering concussions in all four of the IED blasts, Sheffield tried to help his fellow soldiers who were also injured, Chesnut said.

"On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for Josh's sacrifice," he said. "He has made us all very proud."

Bryant said Sheffield was an inspiration to other soldiers, always working hard and passing on an encouraging word.

"He was one of the bravest people I know," he said.

Sheffield fought until the very end, Bryant said.

"Sergeant Sheffield is now our guardian angel," he said. "Sergeant Sheffield was a great soldier."

His father also remembered little things and how the military helped change his son and his son the military.

"When he was at home he didn't want to mow the yard or clean up his room. And they made my son mow all the grass at the base and clean up everybody's room. So the kid that didn't want to clean up his own room or mow the yard had to clean up the whole base," the proud father said.

"He would say thank you and he would be grinning from ear to ear. He was really hoping he would get this before he passed," Sheffield said of his son.
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