Roanoke aviation pioneer Wes Hillman has died

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) An aviation legend in western Virginia has died.

Wes Hillman was 94 years old.

He was in the spotlight a year ago, when several hundred people gathered at the Virginia Museum of Transportation to honor him.

Hillman wore his old uniform and a big smile, as he received the Congressional Gold Medal for his work with the Civil Air Patrol during World War II.

"I don't know what it's all about really," Hillman told us then. "There's so many people that deserve so much more... and I just say I really appreciate it."

Hillman and his wife Edith operated Hillman Flying Service for many years.

He is credited with training more student pilots than any other instructor in southwestern Virginia.

He was the commander of the Roanoke squadron of the Civil Air Patrol during World War II and trained pilots for the Navy.

He's also a member of the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.

A memorial service celebrating Hillman's life will be held Wednesday morning at 11 at First Baptist Church.