Medals given to honor 4 veterans, 3 have EP connections

Alice Berger and son, Kurt
Alice Berger and son, Kurt

Three veterans and the widow of a fourth received medals in a ceremony attended by friends, family, and congressman Greg Walden on August 16. The medals and the ceremony are the result of efforts by the staff at the Jackson County Veteran’s Service Office. Service men honored included:
Morris Frantz of Phoenix who received the Navy’s Good Conduct Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, an American Campaign Medal, an Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with a Bronze Service Star, an Honorable Service Pin, and a Discharge Button;

Thomas Humphries of Brookings who received a Bronze Star, an Army
Commendation Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service
Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, a Combat Infantry Badge First
Award, a Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device (1960), and a
Marksman Badge with a rifle bar; In honor of her deceased husband,
Richard Berger, Alice Berger of Eagle Point accepted a World War II
Victory Medal, an American Defense Service Medal, an American Campaign
Medal with a Bronze Service Star, an Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
with a Bronze Service Star, a European African Middle Eastern Campaign
Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, a Presidential Unit Citation
Ribbon, and Honorable Service Lapel Pin and a Discharge Button; and
Ronald Holzhauser of Medford (formerly of Eagle Point) who received as
replacement medals the Air Medal with numeral nine, a National Defense
Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal and Bronze Star attachment, an
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, a Non-Commissioned Officer
Professional Development Ribbon, an Army Service Ribbon, a Republic of
Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with device (1960), an Expert Badge with a
rifle bar, and a Sharpshooter Badge with a rifle bar. Holzhauser is
working with the veteran’s service office to obtain further medals he
should have initially received, including a Purple Heart.

handing out the medals Walden addressed the veterans and thanked them
stating, "I thank each of you on behalf of a grateful nation for your
service." He also reflected on "our enormous freedom paid for by the
enormous sacrifice" of our men and women in uniform. According to
county Veteran’s Service officer, Marty Kimmel, Walden was instrumental
in helping her office establish the ceremony nearly four years ago.
Senator Ron Wyden has also participated in the ceremony over the years.
Veteran’s Services has always offered servicemen and women the
opportunity to receive the medals due to them, Kimmel and her staff
felt the veterans deserved more. She says, "It’s huge for them to be
able to receive them in a dignified way. They enjoy having [the medals]
given to them in a way that shows what they did mattered." In addition
to the medal ceremony, she and her staff established a monthly service
at Eagle Point National Cemetery honoring, by name, each newly interred
veteran for whom no funeral services were provided.

The efforts of
the Veteran’s Service office were lauded by each of the veterans and
family members with whom I spoke. Nancy Berger, daughter of the late
Richard Berger, says she only became aware of the potential medals her
father had earned but not yet received when her job at Senior Services
partnered with the Veteran’s Service office and she witnessed an award
ceremony. She says, "There are a lot of things out there people are
unaware of." When asked what the posthumously awarded medals mean to
her family she says, "I grew up believing my father was a hero. To this
day, he is still my hero…He was a wonderful father and
husband….There are so many folks out there now leading ordinary lives
that are truly heroes. This is our chance to acknowledge that."

asked about the significance of the medals he received Holzhauser
admits he was surprised he qualified to receive medals to replace the
originals, which had been stolen in a burglary. He also mentions the
Air Medal and the numeral nine attached to it hold particular meaning
for him. He explains, "For every twenty five combat assaults you got an
air medal. [This Medal] signifies 225 combat missions. I was shot down
three times."

After receiving his medal Humphries admitted to
feeling gratitude at the mere fact that he was able to receive them at
this time, as many of his comrades did not make it to their
twenty-second birthday. And while Frantz offered no speech, even when
prompted by an audience member, his large family and a news anchor
elicited smiles and an admission of gratitude toward the recognition of
his service as well as the service of other veterans. His son is EP
Police Officer Steve Frantz.
By Crystal Millien
Of the Independent

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