Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  NEWS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

Dan Hust | Democrat

Lottie Hiatt (seated center) was surrounded by family and friends in Monticello on Thursday, her 89th birthday. One of her gifts was from the U.S. government – four medals – in grateful recognition of her World War II service. Joining her for the celebration were, clockwise from lower left, Lottie’s granddaughter Jenna, daughter-in-law Coleen, son Ron and granddaughter Halley.

Lottie Hiatt gets her medals – nearly 70 years later

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — December 28, 2010 — Lottie “Ginny” Hiatt’s eyes lit up every time she glanced at the handsome case of medals.
“That’s the Good Conduct Medal,” she pointed out. “And that’s the WAC [Women’s Army Corps] Ribbon.”
The other two presented a challenge, as Lottie’s memory is a bit fuzzy these days. The back of the case listed them as the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal, plus an Honorable Service lapel button.
Regardless, her smile spoke volumes – and was made even wider by the presence of her family on the night of her 89th birthday this past Thursday.
“She earned them during World War II,” remarked Lottie’s son, Ron, also admiring the medal case. “She was happy she served.”
A native of Port Huron, Michigan – where she was a star basketball and baseball player in high school – Lottie volunteered for the WAC in 1942 and became a flight line dispatcher with the pilot training facility at Marana Field in Arizona.
“I couldn’t think of anything better to do,” Lottie recalled with her disarming smile.
“Back then, she said everybody went,” Ron related. “She was a sergeant.”
When the war ended in 1945, Lottie settled into a happily married life with husband Bill. She was a stay-at-home mom but remained an active volunteer, with the Red Cross and the American Legion.
In her later years, she lived in Utica and was named that region’s Senior of the Year in 2007.
Ron, best known as a county legislator representing the Monticello area, moved Lottie down to the Adult Care Center in Liberty several years back to be closer to her family.
The medals arrived at the Government Center a few weeks ago, and Ron presented them to Lottie on her birthday.
“Our Veterans Services Agency sent away for them,” he explained. “I didn’t even know they did it.”
Now-retired Veterans Services Agency Director John Bridges said this happens a couple of times every year – veterans move, apply for benefits, or pass away, and a records check suddenly reveals a few overdue medals.
In Lottie’s case, the matter took more than two years to settle, as her discharge papers couldn’t be located at first.
Finally the paperwork was in order, and the medals were sent to Sullivan County, where John gladly handed them over to Ron.
“Let me tell you, that job is a very gratifying one,” John related yesterday, just a few weeks into his retirement.
Ron – himself an Air Force veteran – proudly handed the medals to his mom Thursday.
“Where we get our ‘shine’ is from her,” he laughed as his daughters crowded ‘round.
Her eyes sparkling, Lottie gazed at the medals, then grinned.
“I guess we won, didn’t we?” she said.

top of page  |  home  |  archives