Local Soldier Gets Bronze Star

7-12-05 - An Army officer from Paris, Texas has been awarded one of the military's highest honors. 1st Lieutenant Joseph Whelchel is a medic in Iraq, where's he's helped 1,000 wounded soldiers.

Whelchel left Paris, Texas more than 15 years ago to pursue a football career at Louisiana Tech University, but he ended up on a different kind of field and in a war zone.

From February of 2004 up until just months ago, Lt. Whelchel spent nearly every day in the trenches near Samarra, Iraq. He is a physician’s assistant in the army, a medic who stabilizes soldiers wounded on the battlefield.

in his first six months alone, Whelchel saw 110 soldiers die in battle but is credited with helping save the lives and limbs of more than one thousand.

He was recently awarded the Bronze Star, one of the army's highest achievements for bravery.

Incidentally, Whelchel's twin brother Lloyd is an assistant district attorney in Lamar County.