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Medal of Honor recipient returns to Kentucky for last time

Published: May. 2, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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RACELAND, Ky. (WSAZ) - For the last time, a hero rode into his old Kentucky home.

To Greenup County, Ernie West was so much more than a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was their neighbor, their friend and to his family, their papaw.

“I think when I was younger, I didn’t understand how special and important he was because he was just Papaw and that’s what he was to us,” said Amber Furman, one of West’s granddaughters.

If you ask anyone else in the area, they say he would have told you that he didn’t see himself as a hero at all.

“That’s what they taught you,” West said in an interview with WSAZ’s Randy Yohe in 2011. “If someone went down, one of you take over and do what you have to do.”

“He didn’t want that level of recognition but we’d go places and see the respect an honor that he was given and in turn, we were able to witness and realize what really is important and to see that example in someone that is so close to us, I think really molded us into who we are,” said Bethany Hogsett, another one of West’s granddaughters.

No matter where he went, he was always going to be Greenup County’s favorite son, and honor following behind him.

“We went to functions with him and saw these important things and important people and it meant so much to us but at the end of the day, he was just the person who was always there and supported us,” Hogsett said.

The family tells us that a funeral will be held on Saturday at Wurtland Middle School. West will be laid to rest at the Kentucky Veterans’ Cemetery in Greenup County.

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