Community turns out to honor combat veteran

2013-08-06T19:00:00Z 2013-08-07T18:17:08Z Community turns out to honor combat veteranHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 06, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

KOUTS | Army Sgt. 1st Class William Herr stood before a packed house Monday night to add to his already long list of honors.

Herr was presented with a Quilt of Valor by the Kouts American Legion Auxiliary after thanking those assembled for their support during his five tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There are times you deal with people who don’t want you in their country, who hate you, who want to kill you, and it all comes down to this right here,” said Herr, choking up and gesturing to his friends, family, neighbors, former teachers, strangers, “You see why you did it.”

Herr, a 1991 graduate of Kouts High School, served in the Marines from 1991 until 1998 before spending 13 years in the Army as a combat engineer and an explosive ordinance clearance agent.

He has been awarded the Bronze Star, achievement medals, service medals and commendations that are too numerous to list, said Auxiliary President Pat Dust, who introduced Herr.

“It’s marvelous what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved,” she said.

The Quilt of Valor was presented to Herr by Cathy Cater, a member of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a group of quilters who have presented 87,729 quilts nationally to “service members who have been impacted by war or conflict,” she said before draping the red, white, and blue quilt over Herr’s shoulder.

The quilt presented to Herr was made by two women, one in Chesterton and one in Liberty Township, said Cater, although the women remain anonymous.

Herr also thanked his parents, Frank and June; his wife and three children; and the support given to him and his fellow troops while overseas, especially from members of the Kouts American Legion Junior Auxiliary who sent over care packages.

“You get a touch of home and it feels so great,” he said.

One of the members of that group, 11-year-old Tyler Anstead of Kouts, said he had prepared packages for Herr and others serving overseas and he felt it was important to show support.

“We sent them boxes of food and snacks, and my brother even got a letter back from a soldier,” he said.

(Editor's note: This story was edited from the original version.)

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