Congressman John Carter recognizes veterans with commendation ceremony
Killeen, TX, October 9, 2021
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Congressman John Carter recognized some of our nation’s heroes Saturday with the 7th annual Congressional Veteran Commendation Ceremony. For Carter, it’s become an annual tradition to recognize local veterans who selflessly gave back to those in need.
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Congressman John Carter recognized some of our nation’s heroes Saturday with the 7th annual Congressional Veteran Commendation Ceremony.
For Carter, it’s become an annual tradition to recognize local veterans who selflessly gave back to those in need.
“It’s amazing how many trained military people take those skills home with them and show them,” he said.
“They show leadership in their civilian community.”
One of those leaders was Killeen Pastor Rodney Gilchrist. After serving more than 15 years in the Army, he took the reigns at a local church, donating to the poor with food and clothes, while also providing free haircuts and school supplies to children.
“I think that most people who choose to serve in the community, they’re not doing it for any kind of recognition,” he said.
“They’re doing it because there’s a need and to meet that need is their primary goal. That’s why we serve.”
Another Veteran, John Byrne, served more than two decades, seeing multiple tours in Vietnam. After retiring, he not only gave back to his community through volunteer work, but also just became an organ donor at 75-years-old. He donated his kidney to a childhood friend.
“I was at a party six weeks ago and his wife came up to me and told me that I saved his life,” he said.
“He would not be here if it weren’t for the fact that I donated my kidney. So, it’s extremely gratifying to me that someone would say something like that.”
While being recognized is humbling, these veterans say giving back to those less fortunate is the most rewarding feeling.
“The thing that struck me most is being recognized like this for your altruism,” Byrne said.
“A couple of the commendations used that word and to me, I think that’s a critical part to a person’s life. They say the more you’re given, the more we should give back and I really believe in that.”
The complete list of the 2021 Congressional Veteran Commendation Recipients include:
Sergeant Theodore Acheson, U.S. Army (Georgetown), Captain Richard J. Archer, U.S. Army (Temple), Lieutenant Colonel John E. Byrne, Jr., U.S. Army, Retired (Round Rock), Sergeant First Class Ken Cates, U.S. Army & U.S. Coast Guard, Retired (Harker Heights), First Sergeant Gene Davenport, U.S. Army, Retired (Leander), Sergeant Major Rodney Wayne Gilchrist, U.S. Army, Retired (Killeen), Captain Joseph F. Kiefer, Jr., U.S. Air Force (Temple), Rear Admiral David Lee Maserang, U.S. Air Force, Retired (Georgetown), Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Shaw, U.S. Army, Retired (Leander), Sergeant Jim M. Yeonopolus, U.S. Air Force (Belton).