ALTOONA, Wisc. — A Vietnam veteran from Eau Claire was met with a surprise at the memorial park he visits every day.
Thomas Lee is rarely at a loss for words; however, for a few minutes Saturday, he was speechless as he was shown a new bench with his name on it recently added to the Veteran’s Tribute at River Prairie.
“I was speechless. I did not come anywhere close to thinking that this would be here for me,” he said.
His wife, Patty, who helped secure the bench in her husband’s honor said the park is his special place, and so, the bench reads “His place to find comfort, peace, and fellowship.”
“I brought Tom out here one night and just watched him sitting here,” Patty said. “He was so peaceful and he’s totally relaxed out here and just enjoys talking to the people.”
Lee thought the words on the bench were perfect.
“The saying on it is unbelievable,” he said. “It does give me peace to be here.”
Though the Lee family showed up with pride, Lee himself thought the honor should have gone to others.
“I’m very proud of course that it’s there,” he said. “Like when I come in and I said to everybody that I was undeserved of this. There’s so many more that are here that didn’t make it home that need their name on here.”
His wife and others say Lee is more than deserving of this honor.