93-year-old MN woman honored with Congressional Gold Medal for WWII service
FAIRBAULT, Minn. (KMSP) - On Thursday, 93-year-old Cecelia Bell of Fairbault, Minn. was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal for her service to her country during World War II in the Civil Air Patrol. But her 96-year-old sister, Liz Strohfus, had a lot to do with Bell's service, since she was the first to sign up.
As the Civil Air Patrol flew coastal patrols, offered military training and provided search and rescue efforts during WWII, there were two sisters making sure the CAP squadron in Fairbault stayed on track by meticulously taking notes.
It started with Strofus, who simply stepped up because the CAP needed help.
"We were to be prepared to do anything we needed to do to help our army" Strohfus said.
But Strohfus had a love she couldn't resist -- and left to join the women's Air Force service pilots because she loved to fly airplanes.
She left her duties at the CAP in good hands. Her sister, Cece, was happy to record history in the making.
'I kept track of things that were going on at the meetings and things that happened," Bell said.
Strohfus is draped in medals, but now it's Bell's turn. She's preparing to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for her important service in the Civil Air Patrol during the war.
Strohfus is proud of her sister and proud of her own service to both the Civil Air Patrol and to the Air Force.
"I taught instrument flying to the fellas and scared the hell out of them. But you see, I had to let them know I could handle it," Strohfus said.
Together they have served our country -- and we all are forever grateful.
Bell received the Congressional Gold Medal Thursday in Fairbault. It's one of the highest civilian medals you can receive in the United States.