US Army: Hero of the Year Award: Eugene Metcalfe

Focus Comics champions autistic and special needs kids, super heroes and local heroes. We are proud to announce that Eugene Metcalfe, a 101 year old World War 2 Prison of War Veteran from Fountain Hills has been selected for this years Hero of the Year Award (2024), within the US Army category. We look forward to presenting him with our Focus Comics Hero of the year award Trophy on 27th April 2024 at our venue : Samurai comics store in Glendale at 10am. Gene will be one of our guest speakers that day along side other honorable heroes in the community.

Above left: Gene in uniform (1943). Photo Provided by Gene. Above Right: Recent Photo of Gene (Photo courtesy of Fountain Hills Times).

Our Focus comic autistic and special needs students look forward to meeting Gene, and our local heroes at their military vehicle art graduation event in celebration of Autism acceptance month. Our hope is to include as many local heroes in our students class photo for 2024.

“Eugene (Gene) Metcalfe, quit school in his senior year in 1942 to join the 82nd Airborne, 508th, 501 Paratroop Infantry Regiment. On Sept. 17, 1944, Metcalfe was among the first to jump from a C-47 over Groesbeek Heights, about 45 miles behind the enemy line. The area was believed to be free of German troops. Instead, three German anti-aircraft cannon emplacements defended the region. As Metcalfe jumped into a hail of bullets and exploding shells, he watched his plane roll and plummet into the ground. Metcalfe was listed as killed in action and left for dead by his patrol. Metcalfe lost his hearing when an explosion damaged his eardrum. Shortly after his capture, Heinrich Himmler, the second most powerful man in the Third Reich, interrogated him. Eventually, after making an escape attempt and being captured within sight of the snow-capped Swiss mountains, his camp was liberated by American troops in April 1945” (Interview with Gene, by Barb Charzuk, Fountain Hills Times.)

“The Focus Comics Hero awards is a celebration honoring local heroes for their courage; sacrifice, selfless service, patriotism, compassion and leadership. It is an honor to present this award to Gene Metcalfe, for embodying the values and ideals of the nation. Our Focus Comic autistic and special needs students look forward to meeting Gene in person. We want him and as many local heroes in our Class of 2024 photo. Focus Comics are proud to champion young autistic talent, super heroes and local heroes.” Yvonne Wan, Focus Comic Creator. Social Cultural Anthropologist.