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Columbia native, Vietnam Veteran, on Today show

Lee Barnes Willis and husband Bud Willis on "Everyone Has a Story" segment

By Alissa Barnes

On November 13, 2008, Columbia native Lee Barnes Willis and her husband, Bud Willis of Naples, FL, were featured on the "Today" show. The segment was entitled, "Everyone Has a Story."

Bud was a Marine helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He wrote a story about one mission that forever changed his life and submitted it to the morning talk show. Out of thousands of submissions, Bud's was chosen.

The story was about an extremely wounded soldier being transported by helicopter to a MASH unit. As he left the helicopter, he asked that someone thank the pilot for the ride. Bud, a battle-hardened Marine, was moved to tears that a soldier so wounded (he had lost an arm, a leg, and an ear) would remember to thank him.

As is typical of most soldiers, Bud claimed he was just doing his job and probably went on six or seven more missions that very day.

For his story, Bud was awarded $1000 but donated that to "Wounded Warriors," an organization to aid wounded veterans.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my brother-in-law for his service to our country and for being such a wonderful role model to us all.

This story was posted on 2008-11-14 08:54:55
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