Fallen WWII soldier’s sister gifts memorabilia to local decorated veteran


Inside the box of items gifted to DeBolt was a photo of Paul C. Poulton who served in the United States Army for about one year before he died in the Battle of the Buldge.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

An elderly woman walked into a local barber shop on the 75th anniversary of D-Day to gift the shop owner, an Army veteran, items left behind by her brother who died in action during World War II.

On June 5, Mike DeBolt, the owner and operator of The Sports Barber, was a guest speaker at a Kiwanis meeting. DeBolt was a Silver Star recipient as a result of his time in the military. In March, DeBolt’s Silver Star was upgraded to the second highest U.S. Army award — a Distinguished Service Cross.

The Army veteran was wounded during his four years in the military as a result of hitting an IUD.

On the evening of June 5, DeBolt was featured on the news. The next morning on June 6, the 75th anniversary of D-Day an elderly woman walked into The Sports Barber.

The woman, Janet Parker, told DeBolt about her brother who died in action during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge.

“She was like I have a box of his stuff, I’m getting older and I don’t have anybody to give it to, would you like to have it,” Debolt recalled from his conversation with Parker.

DeBolt accepted the items from Parker and began pulling out the pieces of history from inside the cardboard box.

“The first thing I pull out is his Purple Heart certificate,” DeBolt, a graduate of Maysville High School, said. “His Purple Heart was actually in there. It was broken, and I fixed it,” Debolt said. “And then there’s a binder of all his letters he wrote home from the 44-45 years.”

Paul C. Poulton, Parker’s brother, died January 14, 1945 in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, which lasted from Dec. 16, 1944, to Jan. 25, 1945. Poulton was killed in action in Belgium at the age of 21 after serving in the United States Army for about one year, according to a newspaper article in the archives.

In the official letter to his Poulton’s family, it states that he was hit by fire and killed instantly.

Among the binder full of letters, paperwork and other artifacts was Poulton’s uniform hat and the flag that was placed over his casket.

“How I see it, it was never folded or given to the family properly because you could tell the folds and this is how it sat for 75 years,” Debolt said of the flag that has 48 stars on it.

He added that the flag was likely the last thing that ever touched Poulton.

In honor of Poulton’s memory living on, DeBolt invited members of the VFW to The Sports Barber on Tuesday morning to hold an official 13 fold ceremony for the flag.

Today, Poulton’s Purple Heart certificate can be seen hanging on the wall at The Sports Barber, along with some of the soldier’s other items nearby to keep Poulton’s legacy alive.

“This stuff would’ve died in a box when she (Parker) passes, so it’s like kind of being reborn again and his legacy will live on,” DeBolt said.

Despite Poulton passing long before DeBolt was ever born, the barbershop owner said it’s important for Poulton to be remembered.

“It couldn’t have went to a better place, I always told her,” DeBolt said. “I’ll take care of it as if it was my own.”

The Sports Barber is located at 1434 Linden Ave. in Zanesville.