Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel unveiled two World War I military medals today at the Missouri State Museum.
The medals, a Distinguished Service Cross and Croix de Guerre, were handed over to Zweifel as unclaimed property when they were found in a bank safe deposit box.
The medals belonged to Major Ernest W. Slusher. Margaret Means, a member of Slusher’s family, is in the process of seeing if she is the lawful owner of the medals.
So, who was Maj. Ernest W. Slusher? And how did he earn these medals? Zweifel explains in a release:
“Maj. Slusher’s extraordinary bravery will never be forgotten – from Sept. 29 through Sept. 30, 1918 he cared for wounded American and French soldiers on the battlefield near Charpentry, France. He was continuously gassed and collapsed twice from the barrage. Despite needing treatment himself, he refused to stop and repeatedly went back to the front lines to care for his fellow soldiers. He deserves this honor, and I am proud to stand here with members of American Legion 5 and members of his family to share it with Missouri. It is very fitting this Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest military decoration, be placed here just before our nation’s birthday.”
The release also gives further details of Slusher's life:
Maj. Slusher was born in Dover, Mo., in 1875, became a doctor in 1897 and practiced medicine in Kansas City. During WWI, he served as a regimental surgeon in the 140th Infantry Regiment, 35th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. Maj. Slusher had previously served in the Spanish American War as a First Sergeant. He lived with his wife, Florence, in Kansas City’s Hyde Park neighborhood until his death in 1957.