Posted at: 08/26/2014 2:49 PM
Updated at: 08/26/2014 6:39 PM
By: KOB.com Web Staff
The New Mexico National Guard on Tuesday presented a Santa Fe woman and her family with combat medals on behalf of her father, a late World War II veteran.
After George Ayala's death, Georgia Brown found documents indicating his eligibility for service medals, but the medals had been lost and she did not know which awards he had earned.
Brown received help applying for the medals from Sen. Tom Udall's office.
At a ceremony in Albuquerque, Brown and her family received a Bronze Star and five additional combat medals on behalf of her father.
Ayala, an Albuquerque native and lifelong resident, joined the United States Army and served in the Philippines and Japan during World War II as a private first class. He was one of very few among his original group of Albuquerque servicemen who returned from combat following service in the Philippines.
Upon Ayala's return, he met and married his wife, Martha Trujillo, and they had two children, Georgia and Gene. He worked at both Montezuma Grocery and Dixon Paper Co., and eventually started his own company, Quality Paper and Plastics, along with his wife and son.
Ayala passed away in 2012 and is survived by his son and daughter, son-in-law and daughter-in-law, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
"We are proud to present Georgia Brown and the rest of the Ayala family with these awards in recognition of their father's courageous and selfless service," said Brig. Gen. Andrew Salas, adjutant general of the New Mexico National Guard.