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Few lives are so remarkable as the one lived by Hershel “Woody” Williams. His story has been told so frequently it hardly needs retelling, but for the uninitiated, or for those who simply enjoy hearing it again, here is a condensed version of his life — a tale of uncommon valor.

Born weighing less than 4 pounds in 1923 on a dairy farm in Quiet Dell, Williams was toughened early by a life of hardship. The youngest of 11 children, he lost siblings to the flu and, by age 11, his father was gone, too, from a heart attack.

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