By Lisa Hughes

LINCOLN (CBS) – It’s a long overdue recognition of a hero’s service to the United States for a 98-year-old Lincoln woman who was a spy during World War II.

Patricia Warner received one of the nation’s highest honors Tuesday – the Congressional Gold Medal. And through the applause and accolades, this humble hero maintained the composure that served her well undercover.

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“We’d love to present to you a Congressional Gold Medal that we had made for you to thank you for your service,” Rep. Katherine Clark said as she presented the award to Warner before a gathering of family and friends at the Lincoln Public Library.

“Can you see it? It’s beautiful. It looks like it’s solid gold,” Warner responded.

Ninety-eight-year-old Patricia Warner, of Lincoln, received the Congressional Gold Medal on Tuesday. (WBZ-TV)

It was 1942, and Patricia’s husband was killed in action on his ship during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

“My husband was killed in the war, and I wanted to do something useful,” she said. So she joined the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, America’s spy agency that would one day become the CIA.

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Warner was sent to Spain, which was pro-Nazi. Her job was to infiltrate high society, hob-knob, keep her ears open and report back.

“I didn’t feel I was in great danger at every moment, but I knew the Germans had my number,” Warner said.

She also communicated with the French underground to help downed American pilots escape the Nazi-occupied country.

“There has been a renewed interest in women’s roles in World War II that often went untold and unsung,” Clark said.

“It means a lot. I don’t think anyone ever thanked me, and I never thought I needed thanking. But to see this now is very touching and I’m very grateful,” Warner said.

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Other recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal include George Washington, Thomas Edison and Rosa Parks.

Lisa Hughes