I didn’t know it was coming. I was actually scheduled to be at a Les Brown training in Los Angeles. 9 days before the training, I received a call from Senator Sam Johnson’s office congratulating me.
“You are receiving the 2011 Congressional Veteran Commendation (CVC), in its inaugural year for your military service and community involvement as a veteran.”
I had no idea I had been nominated. I was honored and humbled to have been included.
“I am proud to know great patriots like these veterans here in our own community,” said Johnson. “It is an honor to recognize their service to America.”
But imagine my surprise 9 days later when I was at the awards ceremony held at Collin College in Plano, Texas (a suburb of Dallas), when I discovered I was the only female veteran being honored in 2011.
The other honorees included:
- U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (ret.) Scott Bradley of Murphy served our country for 23 years. During Bradley’s deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, his task was to secure and detail all insurgents coming through the hospital.
- Thomas Garner of Plano joined the U.S. Army during World War II as part of the Air Corps. At the end of WWII, Garner entered the U.S. Air Force, where he deployed to Japan, Wake Island, Bermuda, Bangkok and Thailan during his 27 years of active duty service. Garner has also served with the Texas State Guard, receiving numerous awards and citations and achieving the rank of Colonel.
- U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Allen Goehring, Jr. of Richardson has honorably served our country since 1986. Most recently, Goehring deployed to Iraq as a Criminal Investigations Division Special Agent with the 1149th Military Police Detachment of the Texas Army National Guard.
- U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Robert Kinne of McKinney served an impressive 21-year career as a distinguished fighter pilot. Kinne flew numerous combat missions over Vietnam and received three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Air Medals, a Bronze Star, and two Meritorious Service Medals. Kinne remains closely involved with the community as a member of the Red River Valley Fighter Association, National Air and Space Society, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
- Colonel Peter Malik of McKinney serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as Commander of the 90th Sustainment Brigade in Little Rock, Arkansas. Malik has deployed for both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
- Specialist Richard Oliver of Sachse served in the United States Army where he trained to perform decontamination of field units in the event of a combat nuclear exchange.
- Jim Reed of Plano served as a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps where he fought in World War II at the Battle of the Marshall Islands, the Battle of Saipan, the Battle of Tinian and the taking of Iwo Jima.
- Captain George Robinson of Plano served 20 years in the U.S. Navy after graduating from the NROTC program at Princeton University and obtaining a Ph.D. in civil engineering through a four-year Marshall Scholarship in the United Kingdom.
- U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Paul Simeon of Frisco is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom.
- Sergeant Leni Mark Williams of McKinney served our country from 1942 to 1972 as part of three foreign wars: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
The CVC, in conjunction with the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress, is a nominations-based program that preserves the personal accounts of veterans for future generations.