View Full Version : RS Houston Marines honor WWII Purple Heart recipient

03-26-04, 09:06 PM
RS Houston Marines honor WWII Purple Heart recipient
Submitted by: 8th Marine Corps District
Story Identification Number: 2004325104134
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Bortz

Recruiting Station Houston(March 25, 2004) -- For 47 years, Loraine Martin carried a heavy burden: what to do with the Purple Heart her first husband was awarded while serving during World War II? She finally came upon an answer when she talked to Staff Sgt. Edwin Ducos, pool specialist, Recruiting Station Houston.

Alva Lewis Roy had served in the Marine Corps from 1943 to 1947. In 1945, he was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received while serving in the Western Carolines near the Marshall Islands. After the war, Roy returned home to Texas and had a happy life with his wife Loraine. Then in 1957, the couple received the frightening news that Alva had a brain aneurysm and only had a short time to live.

“He was so brave,” said Martin, who welded airplanes during World War II, “just like he was when he was in the Marines.”

Years later Martin remarried, but always wondered what to do with Roy’s Purple Heart. The two had no children to pass the medal on to and Loraine didn’t want the medal to just end up somewhere and not be appreciated.

Her husband, John Martin, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, told her to call the Marines because the Marines always take care of each other. Martin came in contact with Ducos and asked him if there was anything the Marines could do. Ducos promised her that he would take care of it.

“It’s part of our tradition, Marines take care of each other, and I didn’t want his sacrifice to be forgotten,” said Ducos.

Ducos, along with other Marines, contacted Jay Setchel, a local graphic designer who had also served in the Marines, about constructing a case to display the medal. Using the medal, photos of Roy and his Purple Heart citation, Setchel constructed a display case to be hung on the wall at the RS headquarters.

“We [the company] did it for cost of material only, because he was a Marine and should be remembered,” said Setchel, who served during the Vietnam War.
Martin and her husband went to the RS to see the medal, Feb. 13.

“She had no idea what we had done, she thought we just put his items in a frame and that was it,” said Ducos, “she didn’t know all the work that had gone into it.”

Upon seeing the display, Martin began to weep and repeatedly said how much her husband would have appreciated the effort.

After a small ceremony and words from Maj. Jeff Smitherman, commanding officer, RS Houston, the display was hung on the wall.
“It will remain here until the last Marines leaves this building,” Smitherman said.


Loraine Martin, wife of deceased Marine and Purple Heart recepient Alva Roy, thanks Maj. Jeff Smitherman, commanding officer of RS Houston, for creating a display to remember Roy and his medal. Photo by: Staff Sgt. Jason Bortz