PUYALLUP, WA — More than 70 years ago, when he was just 19 years old, Puyallup resident Loren Kissick landed on the beaches of Normandy as part of the massive Allied D-Day invasion of Europe. Now Kissick wants to return for the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord, and his family hopes to help get him there with a little help from the community.
Lori Hadley, one of Loren’s daughters, created a GoFundMe campaign to raise $12,000 to fund the trip — flights, hotels, transportation, and food — and U.S. Seafoods in Seattle has reportedly volunteered to match all donations dollar for dollar. Hadley, her sister Julie Kissick, and their spouses will reportedly join Loren on the trip.
The youngest soldier in his unit at the time, Loren reportedly believes he’s the only surviving veteran on the West Coast from the 453rd Automatic Weapons Battalion. He will be 94 on Jan. 15, 2019.
Loren served with the 9th Corps in the U.S. First Army under Gen. Omar Bradley on D-Day before his reassignment to Gen. George Patton’s Third Army, which later became famous for its participation in the Battle of the Bulge — of which Loren is also a veteran.
Perhaps surprisingly, Loren was never injured, he recently said in an emotional interview with KING 5 News in Seattle. According to his family, Loren served as a machine gunner on an M3 Half-track personnel carrier.
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“It is very emotional for him, even now, to talk about,” Julie told Patch Monday.
Loren said he has wanted to return to Normandy for many years but never got the chance because his wife didn’t want to travel, and he was unwilling to leave her. Married for 71 years, Loren’s wife passed away about six weeks ago after falling ill with leukemia.
During his wife’s illness, Loren reportedly spent nearly $50,000 for in-home care, Julie explained. Because he was unable to fund the trip himself friends began asking how they could help out.
So Loren’s daughters have called upon the community to make his dream of being part of the 75th celebration come true.
Since initiating the fundraiser six days ago, Hadley has seen 26 people donate more than $1,600 toward the trip. Follow this link to make your own donation.
WATCH: World War II Veteran Hopes To Return To Normandy For 75th Anniversary Celebration (via KING 5 News)
Images via Julie Kissick