Three local Vietnam War veterans received their medals from the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission Sept. 12.
Stephen Bogan, of Batavia, Michael Batchler, of Amelia, and Joseph Walriven, of Batavia, were presented with the medals they earned in the war during a ceremony at Veterans’ Memorial Park at Union Township.
“This is an appropriate place to do this I think,” Cliff Riley, vice president of the Veterans Service Commission, said.
Riley explained the history of Veterans’ Memorial Park in Union Township, including the history of the helicopter that was used in the Vietnam War.
Bob Derr, president of the Veterans Service Commission, presented the veterans with their medals and thanked them for their service to the country.
Stephen Bogan, who served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, was presented with the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge with two overseas bars and the Markmanship Badge.
“Thank you very much for your service,” Derr said. “You’re truly a hometown hero.”
Bogan said is difficult to find words for what it feels like to receive the medals.
“I didn’t want the focus on me,” Bogan said. “I am just thankful to be alive.”
Bogan said his family supported him in receiving his medals after all of the years, and he said he lives now for friends he has who didn’t make it home from the war.
Michael Batchler, who served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War, received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Army Commendation Medal with Oak leaf cluster.
“We have a better place to live because of servicemen like you,” Derr said as he presented Batchler with his medals.
Batchler also said he was speechless receiving his medals.
He said when the war was over and he returned to the United States, a major told his unit not to go to town wearing a uniform.
“That was probably the most disappointing thing I’ve heard in my life,” Batchler said.
Batchler said the first time someone thanked him for serving in the Vietnam War was about three years ago.
“It means a lot to receive medals and to have that done today,” Batchler said about being honored during the ceremony.
Joseph Walriven, who served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War, was presented with the Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal and Marine Corps Emblem.
“We’re glad you are able to stand next to us and receive these today,” Derr said as he presented Walriven with his medals.
Walriven said it was a great honor to receive his medals.
“I’d like to thank the commission, my fellow vets and my wife, Peggy,” he said.
The three veterans also received Welcome Home Beads during the ceremony from representatives from Stein Hospice. The beads are made by Vietnam veterans at the Ohio Veterans Home and can only be presented to Vietnam veterans from Vietnam veterans.
In addition to the three Vietnam War veterans, the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission also had medals to give two Persian Gulf War veterans who could not attend the ceremony.
For more information about the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission visit www.clermontcountyveterans.com.