MARIETTA, Miss. (WTVA) -- It's a thank-you one Prentiss County man didn't ask for, but his family did anyway.
More than four decades ago, Talmadge Bullard returned from Vietnam-injured and feeling unwelcome in his own country.
"They didn't want to call it a war. It's not like the soldiers coming back today with no limbs and all that. We didn't get the same recognition," Bullard said.
He was just 18 when he was drafted. Months later, he was on an armored personnel carrier deep in the jungles of Vietnam.
"All we were doing was trying to keep the roads clear. It was dirt roads. It wasn't gravel or anything," Bullard added.
Bullard encountered a land mine just months into his tour-of-duty, and it left him with a ruptured eardrum.
Bullard and two others were eventually sent home, but luck would run out for those left behind.
"They hit another land mine and that land mine killed all of them," Martha Bullard said.
The memory of his friends are always close at hand.
Never far away is his wife who is with him now as he recovers from hip replacement surgery.
It was Martha who decided her husband deserved recognition for his service.
She knew he was supposed to have filed papers to receive the medal years ago.
"He really deserved it. It was really bad what those guys had to go through," Bullard said.
After enlisting the help of a congressman and performing maneuvers that would make the military proud, Martha got what she wanted for her husband-a Purple Heart.
"She's the one that wanted to do this. I wouldn't have put the trouble into it. She did and there's no way to describe how awesome God is and there's no words to describe how awesome my wife is," Bullard said.