Three Purple Hearts and 50 Years Later an Honor Well Deserved!

In August 2019 3-time Purple Heart recipient, Vietnam War  Veteran William Roland Hayes,  received a long overdue honor  during a beautiful ceremony at the Naval and Military Park.  Mr. Hayes, now 71 whose heroic actions  earned him three Purple Heart medals after being wounded on   separate occasions in battle,  and a  Bronze Star,  received his medals in the mail after he was honorably discharged and returned home to Buffalo.


On July 29  Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, formally presented Mr. Hayes  his medals at a special ceremony. As a Paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division, he arrived in Vietnam in 1967 and started out as a cook. 

After being disrespected by a White sergeant, which resulted in words between  the two, he was sent to the front lines as an “infantryman in a demolition platoon” as punishment.

Although combat nearly cost him his life, he ended  up a hero. He received a standing ovation from  family, friends and well-wishers  who gathered to witness  the presentation.

He expressed   his heartfelt thanks to the VA System in his remarks, adding,  “Every time you see a Vet, remember, all Vets have  story that needs to be told for  history, for family and country.” Congratulations Mr. Hayes     

Though he’d received his medals by mail years ago, Hayes was publicly honored by Rep. Brian Higgins at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in advance of National Purple Heart Day on Aug. 7. 

Hayes, spoke about his combat experiences  Wednesday, Aug. 28, at the Merriweather Jr. Library, 1324 Jefferson Ave.