INTERVIEW: 'Stand in Honor Week' to commemorate Medal of Honor r - FOX34 Lubbock

INTERVIEW: 'Stand in Honor Week' to commemorate Medal of Honor recipients, Gold Star families

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Veteran support organizations across the South Plains will begin fundraising this week for a regional monument of courage to honor 100 years of military service since Armistice Day, the end of World War I.

Benny Guerrero, the commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Lubbock, said it's part of the area's ongoing and growing support for service members and their families. A guest on the News@Nine Sunday, Guerrero emphasized how remembering Congressional Medal of Honor awardees commemorates the finest Americans the nation can offer.

"Typically, you earn it posthumously," Guerrero said. "You have died in an act of heroic action to save your unit. Typically, if you actually read a Medal of Honor citation, just this one person against overwhelming odds overtook 100, you know, 50 to 100 -- an entire unit -- to save his unit. It's just phenomenal.

"You can't even make a movie to add all the actions that took place," he continued, "because it'd be too horrific for people to look at or view. These guys are phenomenal people that are a cut above the typical American."

A guest during "Stand in Honor Week" is Marine Col. Jay Vargas (Ret.), a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, five Purple Hearts, and the Silver Star for heroic actions during the Vietnam War. You can read Col. Vargas's citation here.

Vargas will be visiting to honor two Medal of Honor recipients who attended Texas Tech: Marine 2Lt. George O'Brien (Korean War) and Army Pfc. Herman Wallace (World War II). 

"When I get a hug from a Gold Star family member or I get a hug from a World War II veteran," Guerrero said, "and he tells me 'thank you' for my service, it's a big relief. You can actually forgive yourself for anything you think you've done that wasn't morally correct. Taking the life of someone... you have to battle with that. It was that, or your buddy's life, and you have to save your buddy."

During "Stand in Honor Week," veterans organizations will be accepting donations to build a "Monument of Courage" near the War Memorial. It will specifically honor Purple Heart recipients and Gold Star families. Donations can be made in the name of veterans. Click here for a proposed build and how to donate.

Guerrero's full interview is attached to the top of this page.

Press release from the Order of the Purple Heart:

The VFW -Post 2466, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 0900, Remember our Heroes and the Friends of the Monument of Courage announce the arrival of Retired Marine Colonel Jay Vargas who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Vietnam in 1968. He also received 5 Purple Hearts.  

He will be joined by Cathy Metcalf with the Character Development Program associated with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. 
Her Father, Medal of Honor Walter Ehlers, received his Medal of Honor for D Day activity during WW II. 
They will help us launch the Stand in Honor program which honors and celebrates our Veterans, Purple Heart Heroes, Gold Star families and the 9 Medal of Honor Heroes from West Texas. 

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at 11:00 am,  ground will be broken for The Monument of Courage honoring Gold Star families, Purple Heart Heroes and the 9 regional Medal of Honor Heroes at the Lubbock Area Veterans Memorial. 

That day signifies the 100th anniversary of the end of WW I. 

Our groups will start a fundraising effort asking citizens of Lubbock, the South Plains and West Texas to contribute $100 to help erect the Monument of Courage and help fund support efforts for Veterans with PTS concerns and the challenges connected with it. 

Stand in Honor kicks off on Oct. 23rd with the arrival of Medal of Honor Vargas and Ms. Metcalf. 

Tuesday, Oct.23rd – arrival at 3:52

Wednesday, Oct. 24th – breakfast with the Marines and Marine Reserves at the Reserve Center at 9:00 am. MOH Vargas was the youngest of 4 sons, all served in the Marines.

Stand in Honor dinner honoring Medal of Honor Jay Vargas at 6:15 pm at the MCM Elegante.

Thursday, Oct.25th  -  Wreath Laying for Texas Tech 2 Medal of Honor at Memorial Circle at 10:00 AM

Lunch showcasing Cathy Metcalf with the Character Development Program associated with the Medal of Honor Society. Educators will be featured guests to hear about this curriculum for high school / middle school and elementary students. Teaches values, morals and selfless service.

Tour of Vietnam Center & Archive at 2:00 pm
Reception open to the public, especially Veterans, to meet MOH Vargas at 4:45 at the MCM Elegante

Friday, Oct.26th – Discussion of Super VA Clinic/ breakfast - tentative

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