COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On this Veterans Day, a 97-year-old World War II Battle of the Bulge veteran here in the Midlands is being recognized for his work to uplift our service members during the pandemic.
It’s called the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award, which recognizes unusual acts of selfless service, inspired by the selfless acts of four chaplains back in 1943.
The four men, all of different faiths, were aboard the U.S.A.T Dorchester when the vessel was by hit a German torpedo. The Dorchester began sinking in the cold Atlantic waters and there weren’t enough life jackets for the more than 900 people onboard. The men, now known as the Four Chaplains, selflessly gave up their life jackets and went down with the ship all while praying and supporting the others. Now, an award is given in their honor.
David Hubbard of Columbia volunteered to join the Army in 1942 and served overseas in Europe until WWII came to an end.
He tells WIS-TV, “I’ve been making things out of wood all of my life. I started when I was about 10 years old. I had started making some little, small crosses. They were handed out to the troops and I’ve been very pleased to get so many ‘thank you’ notes, what it has meant to have that cross.”
Hubbard befriended a chaplain at Fort Gordon in Georgia, Chaplain Brian Bohlman, who began distributing Hubbard’s wooden, pocket-sized crosses to hundreds of troops. It’s Chaplain Bohlman who submitted Hubbard for the Four Chaplains Award.
A friend of Hubbard, Rick Hurst, read aloud one of many notes the veteran has received from troops giving thanks for his wooden crosses.
“She said, 'Mr. Hubbard, thank you so much for sharing your hope by providing us with these guiding lights. During these uncertain times, we especially need lighthouses guiding us through the chaos until we reach the end of the storm,” said Hurst.
Hubbard, who will be 98 years old in January, said, “It’s what I love to do, just love to do it and it’s keeping me alive. I work in my shop every day, gives me a lot of pleasure, satisfaction.”
The private event will recognize Hubbard and the hundreds of military personnel he’s inspired during these challenging times with his woodwork.