WI World War II combat hero "Maggie" celebrates 101st birthday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

WI World War II combat hero "Maggie" celebrates 101st birthday


Fond du Lac (WBAY) --  The Fond du Lac community helped celebrate the 101st birthday of a hometown hero on Saturday at American Legion Post 75.

James Megellas or "Maggie" is known for being a World War II hero and having the most awards in the history of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Maggie has more than twenty military medals and counting.

"Maggie is the holder of two Silver Stars, a Distinguished Service Cross, and we have been working diligently to get him the Medal of Honor he should have gotten in 1945 for his heroics in the town of Herresbach, Belgium," said Jim Neumann, Maggie’s friend and organizer of the event.

Heroics that has earned him a movie called "Maggie’s War."

"They came across a contingent of about 500 Germans (in Herresbach) that were heading into their path, and Maggie used the element of surprise to completely overpower an advantage that the enemy had, numbering ten to one," said Neumann.

Even though the community celebration was Saturday, Maggie's actual birthday is Sunday. Turning 101 is another thing Maggie can add to his long list of accomplishments.

"For us he's just a great father, a great mentor, and to my children a great grandfather, but his accolades go on and on from running for congress, to serving in Vietnam, it goes on and on, but for me he's my dad," said Maggie’s son, James Megellas.

Maggie was honored by city and state leaders during the celebration, there Maggie talked about his love for the Fond du Lac community.

"To be here and to come back to Fond du Lac, has a special meaning for me," said Lt. Col. James Megellas “Maggie”, 82nd Airborne Veteran.

"We're anticipating a phone call from Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and he also got a letter from Donald Trump. People have really taken notice and kind of paid attention that he's turning 101,” said Maggie’s son, James Megellas.

At 101 years old, friends say Maggie still has a great sense of humor.

"The last time I was with Maggie he was talking about all the advice his doctors are giving him at this point in his life, and he said, I turned to my last doctor and I said I've outlived five of you," said Neumann. 

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