Idaho widow to say final goodbye to husband at Arlington Nat'l Cemetery

Idaho widow to say final goodbye to husband at Arlington Nat'l Cemetery

Credit: KREM.com

Heidy Baker on August 12, 2010.

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by John Langeler / KREM.com

NWCN.com

Posted on August 13, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 13 at 7:49 PM

PLUMMER, Idaho -- It's a remarkable story with a remarkable response from the community.

As first reported on Tuesday, the widow of St. Maries Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker said she could not afford to go to his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery.

But a lot has changed for Heidy Baker in the last 48 hours.  Now, she can after an incredible amount of support and donations from across the country.

"It's crazy, it's absolutely crazy," Heidy said at a cafe in Plummer, Thursday. "The phone is ringing and ringing and it's fantastic."

Vernon Baker is one of just seven African American soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and spent most of his time overseas in Europe, where he was wounded once.

"I cannot even tell you. I have happy tears and I have sad tears. I cannot thank people enough," says Heidy.

Donations came from all corners.  Congressman Walt Minnick said he would donate his frequent flyer miles.

But the joy of the generosity and the trip is tempered by the sadness of losing a husband.

"I'm not looking forward to it," says Heidy. "I know I need to do this. I think that's the place where Vernon should be...but it will also be really hard."

But it's a pain she needs, and wants to feel. And it's a trip she can't believe she will get to make. One last trip with Vernon.

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