Jim Reynolds never heard his father talk about War World II. Simon Reynolds' military experience was an unread chapter in a closed book.
Jim Reynolds will hear that final chapter read Sunday at 3 p.m., when he receives a Bronze Star on behalf of his father at the Garner Veterans Memorial.
"At this point, I don't have any details," Reynolds said. "I know it was for something that happened in the Philippines. But they are holding the details until the ceremony as a surprise."
Reynolds knew his father served in the military, but never knew any details until after his father's death.
"My brother said he had found my father's discharge papers when he was going through his effects. I asked for a set," Reynolds said. "When I got them, I wanted to know more. I always figured that he was just a grunt, just a regular solider, but his papers said he was a heavy machine gunner."
Reynolds began a quest to find out more about his father's military service.
His father was 23 years old and living in Cincinnati when he was drafted. He left behind his wife June and five sons ranging in age from a few months to six years.
Jim Reynolds never knew his father had earned 10 medals, including two from the Philippines government, during the war.
Reynolds contacted Veteran Legacy Foundation to see if he could get more details about what his father had done and where he had served.
John Elskamp, the foundation's executive director, discovered Private First Class Simon Reynolds had been award the Bronze Star Medal for his actions during an assault landing during the battle at Mindanao in 1945.
The medal had never been presented.
"It is not unusual for our military personnel to earn medals that are never presented," Elskamp said. "In war, that happens."
The Bronze Star is the fourth-highest individual military award given by the United States. It is awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
"I still can't envision my father in the military," said Reynolds, a former minister at Aversboro Road Baptist Church and Clayton's First Baptist. "My father was the most quiet, humble, gentle man you can imagine."
Congressman George Holding, Garner mayor Ronnie Williams and other town and military officials are expected at the 3 p.m. ceremony. The public is invited.