Local veteran meets man he helped save during World War II

This is the moment that Nico Akemann says, means more than just a handshake, as he meets the man who saved his life more than 70-years ago.

“He really represents the 8th Air Force that brought the food into Holland, and I just want to make sure I thank the man the right way,” says Ackemann.

About four months ago, Akemann read an article about the Michigan Military Heritage Museum. Intrigued by it’s history, he paid a visit. But it wasn’t until he saw it in person, that he realized he knew these uniforms all too well.

“It became an emotional thing for me, I saw all this stuff back from 72 years ago. Every time I think about those days, I mean, we were near death and that is not an exaggeration,” says Akemann.

Akemann was looking at the uniform of Ralph Brown, the American soldier and navigator who years ago, flew down a narrow corridor at only 300 ft., unarmed, to drop food to the starving Dutch citizens of the Netherlands.

It was part of an operation called “Chowhound” and it saved the lives of many, including Akemann’s.

“The first day that my dad came back from the airfield, he had a couple of chocolate bars, and I’m telling ya, that was the biggest, party that we had,” says Akemann.

Today, Akemann was able to meet the now 97-year old veteran and his family for the first time. A moment Brown’s daughter says, was emotional for everyone.

“It’s so wonderful that there are people in Europe that appreciated what we Americans did during World War II,” says Laurie Parks.

It’s heroic moment, that has changed the lives of many and certainly will not be forgotten.

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