Local family donates Civil War Medal of Honor to Toledo VA ClinicWritten by Sanya Ali | | email@example.com
Wilson W. Brown saw his share of action during his time in the 21st Ohio Infantry during the Civil War. In 1862, he participated in Andrews’ Raid, also known as the Great Locomotive Chase.
Along with his fellow soldiers, Brown commandeered the train until they became prisoners of war later that same year. After their escape and further combat, Brown received the Medal of Honor.
Thanks to great-great granddaughter Linda Schwartz, Brown’s medal will now rest in Toledo at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Toledo Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC).
“I just know what a great place it is,” Schwartz said. “Plus, in the reading of [Brown’s] story, he was injured after that event. He went back into service, he was injured and he was treated by the veterans. And he said if it hadn’t been for them he would have lost his leg, he would have died, and that was one of his big events in his life that he wanted to share with everyone.”
Schwartz knew she did not want the medal — a family heirloom she fought for two years in court to keep — somewhere not easily accessible to her hometown.
“Rather than be in a museum, where people have to pay to get in and see it, they can come here and they can share it with all these people who did the exact same thing as he did,” Schwartz said.
VA Toledo Director Robert McDivitt said the center receives generous donations throughout the year, but this medal in particular holds a special place.
“I would say this is once in a lifetime,” McDivitt said. “We have very active volunteers and donations but this is special.”
During his speech introducing the artifact, McDivitt said he believes having the medal will further emphasize the center’s mission.
“The mission of our health care system is to honor America’s veterans and I hope you see that everywhere in this building and that it’s also evident in the staff who work there,” he said.
Brown’s Medal of Honor will be displayed along with the new Korean War Memorial, which recognizes veterans of the Korean War and is modeled after the memorial in Washington D.C.
The family unveiled the Medal of Honor on May 23 prior to a ceremony to install a Blue Star Memorial plaque at the Toledo Clinic. More than 26,000 Blue Star Memorials stand across the United States, according to Andrea Little, chairperson for the National Garden Club, which started the program. Anthony Wayne Garden Club donated Toledo’s plaque, which was installed by the flagpole at the entrance to the clinic. The space will also include benches with the seals of each military branch adorning them, donated by the local American Legion.
Little said awareness for the sacrifices troops make every day is crucial, and she hopes the memorials serve as a constant reminder of that sacrifice.
“I think what it means for us and for all of us is that we will stay strong in our dedication to our military personnel and that we will honor them not only Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, but every day,” Little said.