TERRE HAUTE -- It took 38 years, but a former Clay County resident recently received medals he had earned from the Vietnam War.
"It was pretty interesting," Terry Haughee told The Brazil Times. "That was something else."
The 57-year-old Haughee learned he was receiving the medals in February but his wife of four years secretly planned a surprise party for him.
"I didn't know (I was going to get the medals)," Haughee said. "I knew I had them coming, but my wife surprised me with it."
Haughee, who currently lives in Terre Haute, received eight medals for service from State Representative Bruce Borders Sunday at the American Legion Post No. 346 in Terre Haute.
He originally believed he was going to be playing bass in his country band at the American Legion picnic and was unaware he would be the guest of honor.
"It kind of brought tears to my eyes," Haughee said. "I was really proud."
Haughee served with the United States Army from 1969-73 as an E-5 Specialists 5th Class. He served a 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam from September 1969 to October 1970.
The medals he received included the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, as well as an Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Valorous Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with four bronze service stars), and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon (with device).
While on duty in Vietnam, Haughee was wounded in action when a piece of shrapnel hit him in the face.
"It wasn't a bad service," Haughee said of his time in the military. "It was something I did for my country."
Haughee was born in Clay County and grew up in Carbon.
He is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for liver cancer. Haughee said doctors discovered cancer in his colon and after successful surgery to remove the cancer, He was taken off chemotherapy until doctors discovered spots on his liver.
However, despite the situation, Haughee was glad to receive the medals, even if it took a little longer than expected.
"Some people wait longer than that," he said.