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Local Veterans Honored for Their Service, in Long Overdue Ceremony
CT 03 27 19

Last week, more than two dozen area veterans were honored for their service at the Medal of Combat Valor Twilight Tribute and Northwest Missouri Veterans Awards presentation, "A Gathering of Warriors." Honored veterans included World War II veterans August Sievering and Raymond Radcliff, who event organizers noted are the second and third oldest veterans to ever receive the Medal of Combat Valor as given by the Columbia based United States Exercise Tiger Foundation (USTF).

PHOTO (right): World War II Navy veteran Raymond Radcliff stands to be honored during the Medal of Combat Valor Twilight Tribute and Northwest Missouri Veterans Awards presentation, "A Gathering of Warriors" on March 21 in Chillicothe. CT PHOTO/ANGIE TALKEN

PHOTO (left): August Sievering, right, receiving his Department of Defense and other commendations from Marine Corps. Sgt. Terry Holcom. CT PHOTO/ANGIE TALKEN

Others honored included 16 veterans who served in Vietnam, two - Delon Rickett and Edwin Allender who both served in Korea - and Melvin Littrell, George Hess and Lawrence Hinnen who served in Korea. Larry Oster, Afghanistan; Allisha Eckert, Enduring Freedom; Codey Ssckrey, Iraq; Tim Hess, Somalia; and Timothy Munday, Desert Storm and Iraq were also honored.

The event began with a wreath ceremony outside Chillicothe's American Legion Post 25/VFW Post 858. "We now honor all of those with us in spirit and those still serving, now, as we speak," Walter Domanski, USTF adjutant, said as veterans began laying red roses on the wreath. After the outdoor portion of the ceremony, the 29 veterans attending along with their supporters returned to the hall, for the formal presentation of awards and commendations. Domanski noted since USTF began giving the Medal of Combat Valor since 2013, they had handed out over 500. "This program began, as a way to honor each of your for your service," he said. The special commendation given to WWII veterans, Sievering and Radcliff, both Navy veterans, are rare. The only other older living veteran to have received the honor is James Shipley, a Tuskegee Airmen from Tipton, Mo. "These men left young men and came home seasoned veterans," Susan Haines, the USTF national director. "These men really are from the greatest generation."

The Vietnam veterans received the Department of Defense Vietnam War Commemoration pin and a citation along with the Medal of Combat Valor. "We honor you tonight in a small corner of this large world for the work you did decades ago, and to say "Welcome home, these medals and awards are long overdue", said Haines. "They may have been overlooked in the 1970s but not anymore. And let me say to all Vietnam vets on behalf of the USTF, welcome home." At the event, veterans were also able to meet the newest service member to Chillicothe, Sgt. Trey Holcom. Holcom, a Salina, Kan., native is the new Marine recruiter for Chillicothe. His first day on the job, he was able to join USTF staff in handing out the commendations.

According to their organization's website, the USTF's mission is to: "Provide, coordinate, and develop annual ceremonies honoring veterans, active military, students, citizens and communities deserving recognition for their patriotic or positive actions affecting US society. Since 1989 the "Tiger" Association has become one of the nations premier Foundations in America that honors veterans of all wars, especially those of Korea and Vietnam. The Tiger Foundation and its chapters are named in memory of the battle of "Exercise Tiger" in WW II and annually recognize this historic pre D-Day Army and Navy exercise and the men who took part in it. The Foundation is constantly working toward the goal of making the words "Exercise Tiger" synonymous with recognition of forgotten veterans."

PHOTO: Members of the Constitution-Tribune staff pose for a photo after receiving various awards for media coverage of veterans and veterans issues. From left, Angie Talken, news editor ; Cathy Stortz-Ripley, former news editor; Paul Sturm, sports editor; Connie Jones, bookkeeper; and Jody Weir, multi-media sales executive. Not shown is Jenetta Cranmer, circulation director and Honi Brown, regional advertising director.

The Constitution-Tribune, along with the current and former news editors, received Distinguished Journalism Awards at the Medal of Combat Valor Twilight Tribute and Northwest Missouri Veterans Awards presentation, "A Gathering of Warriors" on March 21. Angie Talken, news editor, received a Distinguished Journalism award for her coverage of veterans issues and events, including a Nov. 2018 story about Tom Stuver's dedication to placing flags on veterans graves at St. Columban Cemetery. Cathy Stortz-Ripley, former Constitution-Tribune news editor, received an award for her past coverage of veterans and veterans issues. The Constitution-Tribune was awarded another certificate for its ongoing distinguished support of veterans and veterans issues.

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