Seven Vermont veterans and their families were recognized at the Statehouse in Montpelier Monday with medals for honorable service.
Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, and Brig. Gen. Michael Heston of the Vermont National Guard awarded the Vermont Veterans’ Medal and the Vermont Distinguished Service Medal.
The Vermont Veterans’ Medal is given to Vermonters who served honorably in the military and the Vermont Distinguished Service Medal honors Vermonters who served honorably in a combat theater of operation.
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“We know that if there’s one thing that unites us as a nation, at a time when our nation is troubled and divided, it is our appreciation, our respect, and our gratitude for the veterans that have fought for the best democracy in the land,” Gov. Shumlin said in addressing the recipients and their loved ones.
Ted Poulin of Hardwick was among the honorees, receiving both the Vermont Distinguished Service Medal and the Vermont Veterans’ Medal
“I wanted to serve my country,” Poulin said, adding he still feels great pride at having served the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
Poulin delivered fuel and other critical materials where they were needed in Vietnam, often in very dangerous surroundings.
Among those joining Poulin at the award ceremony were his stepson, Dale Manning, and granddaughter, Maressa Plante.
Manning also served in the Army before joining the Capitol Police, and Plante is a current member of the Vermont Army Guard.
“Ever since I was 10 years old, I wanted to join,” Plante said, noting she looked up to her dad and granddad for their service.
“I think it’s very important to honor the veterans,” Manning said of the award ceremony.
The patriotic family said they were always driven by a sense to give their time and energies to something greater than themselves.
“It made me feel good that they both joined the service — the same branch as me too,” Poulin said of his stepson and granddaughter. “It makes me feel pretty good.”
Plante said her whole family is proud of Poulin’s recognition.
“He definitely deserves it, for sure, for everything he’s done,” Plante told necn. “It’s a huge deal for our family.”
The other recipients of the Vermont Distinguished Service Medal were the late Henry Demars Sr., who served in the Navy in World War II, James O’Malley, who served with the Army National Guard in Operation Desert Shield, Wayne Henry, who served with the Army in Vietnam, and Roger Berthiaume, who served with the Marine Corps in Vietnam.
The recipients of the Vermont Veterans’ Medal were John Mowad and Nona Mapes, both of whom served with the Air Force.