(WTWO/WAWV) — It’s never too late to honor a hero. The remains of a Korean War veteran from the Wabash Valley will be laid to rest Friday.

Army Sgt. Charles Garrigus was listed as “Missing in Action” for more than 70 years.

His remains were recently identified among more than 50 boxes of human remains given to President Trump in 2018 by North Korea.

For decades now, a memory marker for Garrigus has been on an empty grave next to his parents’ headstone at Rush Cemetery near Tangiers in Parke County.

Bob Russell is the longtime cemetery caretaker and remembers placing the stone.

“I remember doing it, but it was my son who told me, he remembers helping me do it and that would have been in the late seventies,” said Bob Russell.

Besides the marker in Parke County, the army says Sgt. Garrigus lived in Terre Haute. The family also lived in Gibson County. A Korean War monument outside the courthouse in Princeton bares his name.

“His dad was a coal miner and he took a job at a mine here in Gibson County,” said Gibson County Veterans Service Officer George Pickersgill.

Pickersgill has done a lot of reading into the official investigation of Garrigus’ service, death, and the identifying of his remains.

Pickersgill found that after serving in World War II, Garrigus eventually re-enlisted in the army.
In 1950, he was in a very dangerous area of North Korea as part of the Korean War.

“That was just some of the, some of the bloodiest and most gruesome fighting of the entire war,” said Pickersgill.

Pickersgill discovered Garrigus was a truck driver. He was leading a convoy to meet up with another unit when they fought a heavy attack. Over a series of five days, Garrigus is credited with three heroic acts that helped save others. Garrigus received the “Distinguished Service Cross” for his efforts.

“It’s the second highest medal in our country, second only to the Medal of Honor. So, it’s a big deal. A very big deal,” added Pickersgill.

The medal was later presented to Garrigus’ parents. It’s believed Garrigus was shot to death behind the wheel of his truck.

“It has been pretty well documented that in the panic, a lot of American soldiers took off running. They were afraid for their lives. They didn’t want to be captured, but you know, again Charles gutted it out to the very end. This is the kind of stuff, heroic stories are made of,” said Pickersgill.

Sgt. Charles Garrigus is survived by one sister, two brothers, and several nieces and nephews. His funeral takes place Friday in Greenwood. You can view details of his services here.