U.S. Army specialist Talon Matson, home for only a brief break from his second tour of duty in Iraq, was honored at an appreciation ceremony held at the Clermont County Board of Commissioner’s Jan. 8.
In his introductory remarks, commission president Bob Proud said that Clermont County is extremely honored to have the privilege of claiming Matson, a purple heart recipient who resides in Goshen, as one of our most inspirational and selfless citizens.
“He is a hero and an inspiration to us all,” Proud said. “We are so grateful that he is with us today, home, and safe.”
Born into a military family in Ft. Knox, Ky., U.S. Army soldier and specialist Talon Matson, 22, returned home from the front lines over Christmas after completing a second tour of duty in the war-ravaged country.
Stationed in Baghdad with the American mechanized infantry since Sep. 21 2006 (he returned home Dec. 23), Matson's mission was to provide "presence patrol," which is designed to show the Iraqi people that we are there to help and support them, and to keep them safe from the insurgents.
"Being a visible presence in the Iraq streets promotes the ideas of good will and shows that we are there to protect their lives and to keep their families safe," Matson said.
Matson has been awarded one purple heart for shrapnel wounds and burns sustained from improvised explosive devices; he is awaiting to be awarded two more purple hearts for wounds received in battle.
Matson, who is single, returns to his base in Germany on Jan. 14. If the war continues, he expects to be deployed for a third tour of duty in Iraq sometime later this year.
During the appreciation ceremony, Matson was thanked and honored by Clermont County sheriff Tim Rodenberg, Steven Caraway, the representative and special aide for congresswoman Jean Schmidt, and the Clermont County Board of Commissioners.
"Bob Proud is calling me a war hero," Matson said. "I appreciate that very much but feel compelled to say that I am just a guy answering the call to serve his country and to do the job required of me. At no point during this struggle have I felt like a hero. The real heroes are the thousands of men and women who have fallen and died to preserve and defend the freedoms of our great country."
Matson said that the continued faith and support from outstanding communities like Clermont County is what most sustains the men and women who are serving our country in conflicts all over the world.
"The biggest thanks that we can all receive from the country is their continued love and support," he said. "It feels great coming home to a community that is so supportive. It shows me what I am really fighting for. I am not a hero, I am just a man who loves his country - and I still have a job to do."