LIMA — Larry Huffman has a passion for history.
Huffman was the guest speaker Sunday afternoon at the Allen County Museum, speaking about the life stories of the 16 comrades of Leonard F. Mason and William E. Metzger Jr. who were the only Medal of Honor heroes from Allen County.
“Interest in the Medal of Honor around here kind of peaked eight years ago when the families of Leonard Mason and William Metzger decided to donate the medals the family had guarded since 1945 to the museum,” said Huffman.
A special exhibit exists on the lower level of the museum that chronicles the lives of both men.
“The two medals, for people who know the history, just speak for themselves but to educate people we did a couple of things we thought would help. We got artifacts from each of the two so people can know more about them,” said Huffman.
Mason and Metzger were the predecessors of the 17 Medal of Honor recipients in the 21st century who have received the Medal for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in the War on Terror.
“We put up, directly on the opposite wall, we have, by conflict, and chronologically all of the 3,004 people who have received the Medal of Honor in 156 years from the Civil War right up to the War on Terror,” said Huffman.
Prior to World War II, Mason and Metzger probably knew of some of their predecessors including Jacob Parrot from Kenton and Sgt. York from the 1941 movie of the same name.
“Metzger and Mason were about 19 years old and the movie ‘Sgt. York’ with Gary Cooper came out in 1941 and was probably playing … and they probably saw that movie,” said Huffman.
A temporary display of other Medal of Honor heroes is now part of the Roll of Valor at the museum.
“We thought pictures of the other heroes and short descriptions of what went on and what they did to add to the culture of the Medal of Honor, we thought that would bring it into focus more for people and it should be easier to read than that big long list of names,” said Huffman.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.