Korean War Purple Heart Recipient on Snow to Sun Dance Floor Daily
by Rocio Villalobos
Snow to Sun RV Resort in Weslaco has its own Purple Heart recipient. His name is Bill Leir, and he’s been coming to the Valley from North Dakota for the last 15 years. In 1951, at 18 years of age, Leir entered the National Guard to serve in the Korean War. Although, at the time, there was a military draft, Leir enlisted on his own because he felt a “sense of duty” to serve the country.
As a forward observer for the field artillery, Leir was responsible for “spotting the enemy” and reporting back to his troop so they could direct their attack.
“It was probably a little more dangerous than being back further,” he said, “but somebody had to do it.”
October 9, while out on the field, Leir was hit by a mortar shell. As a result, he lost his left leg. He was taken to a hospital in Japan. Over the course of a few months, Leir was transferred to California, Alabama, and then Michigan. In May of the following year, at age 20, he received a prosthetic leg.
“It took about two weeks to learn to walk with it,” Leir said, “but it worked out pretty good, and I have no problem with the leg.”
Leir added he is thankful for his years spent in the National Guard because it taught him discipline, critical thinking, and how to take care of himself.
Since being discharged from the military and honored with a Purple Heart for his bravery and sacrifice, Leir has remained active, working in construction sales after college and now involving himself in Snow to Sun’s woodshop group.
Leir said he mostly works on small projects, like repairs, but also enjoys working on upkeep and renovation for his and his friends’ units.
“Down here, I’ve helped a couple guys remodel their units and add on to them,” he said. “I like carpentry work, so it’s something to keep me busy.”
Every Friday, the woodshop group leaves the park to try a new restaurant in the Rio Grande Valley. He said he’ll try any type of food at least once.
Apart from woodshop, Leir likes to dance when the park brings in live music performers, particularly when the genre is country western. He sticks to the two-step.
“I don’t line dance. I need to have someone holding me up,” Leir joked. “But I’m out there during happy hour every day, and it’s a lot of fun; plus, it’s good exercise.’
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