Korean War vets made 'boundless sacrifices'
SELINSGROVE — U.S. Air Force veteran Ray Ulrich said his service during the Korean War helped him grow up.
Richard Norman, another Air Force veteran, said he was “happy to serve” during that war.
Ulrich and Norman were among the seven recipients of the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal on Sunday at the Selinsgrove VFW Post 6631. U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12 of Kreamer, presented the medals, two of them posthumously, before a gathering of about 80 people.
The Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal is an honor from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea for veterans who served in the Korean War.
“It was an experience,” Ulrich said of his service. “In a way, it was a good experience. It kind of helped me growing up. I was 20.”
The others medal recipients were Donald Foltz, Harley Freed Jr., Donald Schrey and, posthumously, Pasquale DeLuca and Bobbie Lizardi.
Schrey and DeLuca’s wife, Ruth, were unable to attend to accept the medal. Lizardi’s wife, AnnaBella, accepted the medal on his behalf.
The Korean veterans weren’t the only ones honored. Carolyn Foust and her husband, Stephen, of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, presented Vietnam veteran Chester Bingaman, a former Freeburg firefighter, with a Quilt of Valor. Former Freeburg Fire Chief Tom Wallish presented Bingaman with a sign from the fire company with Bingaman’s name.
Keller called out each name before placing the Korean medal around the necks of Foltz, Freed, Norman and Ulrich.
Right before that, the congressman read a message from the Republic of Korea’s minister of patriots and veterans affairs.
“We cherish in our hearts the memory of your boundless sacrifices in helping us establish our free nation,” the message read, in part. “Let each of us reaffirm our mutual respect and friendship that may endure for generations to come.”
Keller, speaking for himself, told the veterans, “So, you have the gratitude of the people of the United States of America but also of those you helped over in Korea. Thank you so very much.”
Keller said afterward, “We’re very honored to have such great upstanding people as members of our community that care so deeply about America, America’s values and our community.”
Bob Snook, of New Bloomfield, commander of District 17, Veterans of Foreign Wars, gave a brief history of the Korean War. He choked up as he thanked Korean and Vietnam war veterans.
“We are so thankful for your service,” he said. “We are thanking you for the continued freedom we are so thankful for because of your determination, struggles, fear and the fact that you loved your country and did your duty. We are thankful you made it home and are here today, even though this country had no love for any of you when you came home from two wars so unpopular that your brothers and sisters for so long were ashamed of where you had been and what you did.”
State Rep. David Rowe, R-85, of East Buffalo Township, also attended the ceremony. State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108 of Sunbury, had a prior commitment and could not attend, Keller said.