RIPLEY, WV (WOWK) — One person’s absence was felt heavily at Monday’s Ripley Parade. That person was Hershel “Woody” Williams.

Woody Williams died at the age of 98 on June 29, 2022. His procession was on Saturday, July 2, with a funeral held at the West Virginia State Capitol the following day.

Williams was the last living World War II veteran to hold the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor.

On Monday, along the parade route, people were fondly remembering Woody.

“He had a very kind heart, and he loved young people getting involved,” says Riley Bennet, President of the Kindness Club at Ripley High School.

Retired U.S. Army Specialist Michael Wray talked about Woody and how excited veterans were to have him be a part of the history of the parade.

“Everybody that I knew was extremely excited, the vets especially. To have someone as prominent as him to be a part of the parade and actually lead it, that was an amazing thing for everybody,” Wray says.

Woody was the Grand Marshall for the parade in 2021 and was Co-Grand Marshall with General James Hoyer, of the West Virginia National Guard, in 2018.