The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

September 20, 2013

Medal of Honor recipients meet in Gettysburg

(Continued)

Eight soldiers died in the daylong barrage by the Taliban in the mountains near Pakistan, and Romesha was one of 22 wounded among the badly outnumbered Americans. He helped lead others to safety and retrieve the bodies of the U.S. dead.

Donald E. Ballard, the society's treasurer, became a member for his bravery while serving as a Navy corpsman in Vietnam. He threw himself on a grenade while directing Marines to carry a wounded comrade to safety. The grenade did not detonate.

Ballard, who now owns a funeral home in Grain Valley, Mo., said being a Medal of Honor recipient means being a role model, like it or not.

"There is no Hero 101 book, I didn't take the course," Ballard said. "I have to live up their expectations, or my expectations of what they expect."

Ballard said a major focus of the organization these days is its character development program for middle and high school students promoting values like courage and sacrifice. Recipients were scheduled to meet Friday with local students.

Other scheduled events included a town hall forum at Gettysburg College and a concert on the Gettysburg battlefield with the United States Marine Band on Friday and an award dinner on Saturday. Next year's convention will be in Knoxville, Tenn.

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