Coroner candidate accused of stolen valor

Worth County Coroner Candidate Ken Willis on stage during a public debate. / Jessica Fairley

A candidate for Worth County coroner is being accused of lying about his military veteran status to gain more votes.

During a public debate, a concerned citizen confronted coroner candidate Ken Willis about his claimed Vietnam War status.

"I got it right here. You've never been to Vietnam. Why are you going to lie to these folks," said Chris Sanders.

Sanders stated that Willis is indeed a war vet but he never went to Vietnam.

"I think it's shameful that he would say he was a Vietnam veteran to try to get three or four more votes," said Sanders.

He says when he saw flyers stating that Willis was a Vietnam vet, red flags went up and that's when he looked up Willis' record.

"If he had advertised himself as a Vietnam era vet, I wouldn't have given it a second look but when you actually say Vietnam veteran that means to imply that you actually went to Vietnam," said Chris Sanders.

He says documents from the Freedom of Information Act show no proof that Willis went overseas. The paperwork lists that during the candidate's military career, he only served in Fort Benning, Georgia.

"I have a lot of compassion. I work with a lot of vets," said Ken Willis, Worth County Coroner Candidate.

Willis wouldn't say much about his military career to FOX 31 news cameras but he did state that he's a Vietnam War vet and his records are sealed. He says he served in the military from 1972 to 1975 but that's something that his accuser also believes is a lie.

"He was only in the army for 15 months from 1973 to 1975," said Chris Sanders.

Sanders says he doesn't know Mr. Willis nor his competitor, but he questions how the public can trust an official if he's not truthful about something as simple as his war status.

Willis contends that he is telling the truth.

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