MARION, IL (KFVS) - A Marion, Illinois woman received the Congressional Gold Medal on Saturday, Nov. 18 for her role in WWII as a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol.
June Minton, 89, was presented the Congressional Gold Medal at the Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois in front of a room full of people.
Minton was proud of her medal although she said that she didn't feel like it was that big of a deal.
"I'm just overwhelmed by all this. I really am," Minton said. "I didn't realize that something that seems so small to me is such a big thing."
Minton shared her story about how she wanted to serve in the military.
She first worked as a bookkeeper at the Cairo Airport. Personnel there gave her rides for free which is the reason she first was interested in joining the Civil Air Patrol.
"They started giving me free rides," Minton added. "One of them always tried to see if he could make me sick by doing loop loops and wing overs and things but the bug hit me."
On October1, 1942, Civil Air Patrol began a cadet program for boys and girls from 15 through 17-years-old. One of the program's primary missions was to train high schoolers to fly which could turn into future aviation cadets.
On September 9, 1944, Minton joined the Civil Air Patrol.
Minton looks back on her years with CAP but wants to see more young people get involved in the program.
"It's just a good organization to belong to," Minton said. "You learn more than just flying. And I would like to really see some of the younger generation now know about the CAP and what they could learn other than flying."
The Civil Air Patrol states their coursework still provide cadets the opportunity to fly today. It also has expanded to include programs such as STEM education and Cyber Patrols which protects against such things as cyber threats and more.
Minton continued to fly much of her life after receiving her pilot's license on June 19, 1951.
Minton was congratulated at the event with hugs, handshakes, and pictures with her family and other supporters.