GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lola Mondy knew her son was a hero. Now, his story can finally be told through the medals he earned.

“Thought he was coming back home to me. But God knows he didn’t,” said Mondy of her son, Army Specialist 4 Lloyd Slack.

It was December 14, 1967. Slack was a Fire Team Leader, guiding his company through a Vietnamese jungle when they came under sniper fire.

“Specialist Slack immediately began deploying his men into safe, but tactical positions. He remained in the open. He exposed himself to enemy fire,” said friend and fellow solider Tim Keenan.

U.S. Army Specialist Lloyd Slack.
U.S. Army Specialist Lloyd Slack.

Slack was hit by small arms fire protecting the troops he led.

Keenan, also from Grand Rapids, had become close friends with Slack during basic training.

“It was the worst moment of my … well, there was a lot of worst moments, but that was a bad one because we were so close,” recalled Keenan.

Five decades later, Keenan realized, something was missing.

Slack’s mother never received the honors her son died for in battle — a Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.

“She didn’t know he got a Bronze Star. She didn’t know he was a hero. She didn’t know. She had no idea,” said Keenan.

The order went out. But for reasons no one can explain, the medals were not delivered — until Wednesday.

Working with Congresswoman Hilary Scholten’s office, Keenan finally confirmed the medals never made it to Mondy. 

In an emotional ceremony at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Mondy received her hero son’s final honors.  

“I think they’re so beautiful. So beautiful,” said Mondy. “I thank everybody who made themselves present here for me.”