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Merchant Marine honored for service in WWII

By JOLEEN FERRIS

NEW YORK MILLS, N.Y. (WKTV) - Sixty-four years after his service, a local Merchant Marine is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

Harrison "Harry" Preston, 84, of New York Mills, served in the Merchant Marines from 1943-1948. The Merchant Marines ferried fuel, supplies and even soldiers to high-combat areas during WWII. Even though they had the highest death rate (1 in 26) of any military branch, they were not considered part of the military until 1988.

On Tuesday, Congressman Richard Hanna presented Preston with a flag, which was flown over the nation's capitol, a proclamation and the gratitude of himself and his constituents. Preston was touched by the honor bestowed on him in Hanna's district office in downtown Utica.

"This is, you know, this is just, you can't imagine. I never had anything like this happen to me," said the former Merchant Marine.

Preston's friend, U.S. Navy Veteran Carl Gus, of Sauquoit, initiated the recognition for Preston, saying he couldn't have done his job during the war without him.

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