Heartfelt gratitude was given today to more than 80 Missourians who served their country. On this Missouri Vietnam Veterans Day, members of the state House of Representatives spoke about the sacrifices some of their constituents made during the conflict that lasted nearly 20 years, claiming the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians.
State Rep. Tom Hurst (R-Meta) said Rick Fechtel of Jefferson City, who was a machine gunner in the Marines, is deserving of his Purple Heart.
“It was eleven months into his tour when he was wounded three times in one day while participating in night ambushes for Operation Prairie,” said Hurst.
Fechtel was wounded twice during the ground operation. A helicopter landing to give him medical attention was shot down. Fechtel was shot the third time when a second medical helicopter was leaving the ground.
Rep. Travis Fitzwater (R-Holts Summit) recognized Sharon Grant of Jefferson City, who served as a dental hygienist in the war.
“She was the last woman in the Army to exit Vietnam, which is pretty incredible. Her fiancé gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in Vietnam,” said Fitzwater.
Rep. Cora Faith Walker (D-Ferguson) said her father, Edward Drew, inspires her every day. Walker said she’s dedicated her life to public service because of Drew.
“It’s not just the sacrifices he made serving in multiple tours in Vietnam,” said Walker. “It’s also because of the work that he’s done when he returned, starting the Vet to Vet program, which is a peer support program that works with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
One by one, House members handed out resolutions in honor of the brave soldiers. An event that filled about one-third of the House lounge last year, was bursting at the seams this year with red, white and blue.