Medal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.
Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser and Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry at the Healing our Heroes gala Friday in Denver. Petry was the keynote speaker.

For the second time in my life, I’ve shaken the hand of a Medal of Honor recipient.

The first time was in the early 1980s when I worked for The Gallup Independent in Gallup, N.M., and got to know Heroshi Miyamura. The Gallup native, known as “Hershey,” in 1951 in Korea killed more than 50 enemy soldiers, including hand-to-hand fighting with a bayonet, while ordering his men to fall back.

Hershey Miyamura.
Hershey Miyamura.

The next time was at the Healing our Heroes luncheon Friday in Denver when I met former Army Ranger Leroy Petry, who also is a New Mexico native. I didn’t realize until I went to shake his hand that he lost his right one while throwing a live grenade away from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan in 2008.

Petry served as the keynote speaker for the Healing our Heroes gala, which raised money to help injured veterans receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“I thank God every morning that I’m here,” Petry said. “So many paid the ultimate price or suffered horrific injuries.”

Read moreMedal of Honor recipient inspires at Healing Our Heroes event

Healing Our Heroes: a benefit luncheon to help our veterans

Healing our Heroes gala.
Healing our Heroes gala.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is an honorary chairman for this year’s Healing Our Heroes gala, which raises money to help injured veterans receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

The benefit luncheon is scheduled for 11:30 a. m. Friday at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in the Sewell Grand Ballroom. The keynote speaker will be retired Sgt. Leroy Petry, a U.S. Army ranger who was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Obama — only the second time since the Vietnam War a living soldier has been the recipient.

Healing our Heroes is a program of the Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Association for Brain Injuries. On its website, the association has posted videos of veterans who have received the hyperbaric oxygen therapy. “He seems more hopeful,” one wife said after her husband’s treatment.

The Healing our Heroes program pays for the treatments and provides housing for out-of-town veterans while they are receiving treatments in Louisville.

Other honorary co-chairs of the luncheon are Congressman Ken Buck of Windsor and Mike Coffman of Aurora. To inquire about tickets to the event, contact Kristin@thestarboardgroup.com.