GALLIPOLIS, OH (WOWK) – As the nation remembers the Medal of Honor Recipient and World War II veteran, Woody Williams, two of his long-time friends, who initiated his Navy boat honor, tells 13 News his story.

“When Ron approached Woody about getting a Navy ship named in his honor, Woody looked at Ron and he said, ‘Ron I’m not dead yet.’ And Ron said, ‘Woody, I’ve done my homework, they can name a ship after a living person.’ Since Woody is our hero, Ron put together a packet of letters, a resolution and the rest is history,” explained friend, Cheryl Wrobleski.

But her husband, and Woody William’s marine friend, Ron Wrobleski, explains it wasn’t exactly that easy.  

“I had spent many, many hours working on this. I was interviewed on the Today Show, radio stations all over the country, and we sent in well over 70,000 signatures and petitions from 49 states,” says Ron.

The Secretary of the Navy told him they had submitted the largest folder ever, but it all paid off when it came together.

“We were elated. Just to go to the ship christening in San Diego, to watch Woody – he went up and down those ladders like he was 20 years old. He was 90 something,” explained Cheryl.

And they say they were even happier Williams lived to see it happen.

“I think they were kind of waiting for Woody to pass away before naming the ship – and that’s what I did not want. I think we honor people after it’s too late and so it was really great that the Secretary of the Navy decided they were going to go ahead and name that after Woody. And it was well deserved,” says Ron.

The ship is home-based in San Diego, but the model resides in their home.

As a memory, they will cherish their long-time friend.