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Friday, January 31, 2014 - 6:33pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — A U.S. Army Veteran in El Paso was awarded the Bronze Star Medal Friday for his service during the Vietnam War. The Bronze Star is the fourth highest individual military award.
Retired Staff Sergeant Genaro Medina was surprised to see members of the Patriot Guard Riders who gathered to make it a memorable event, 45 years after his service.
They lined a parking lot near the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Center in East El Paso with large American flags and invited the Burges High School JROTC Color Guard to the ceremony.
"It's an honor for us to take care of our brothers," said Skip Haberkamp, Senior Ride Captain for the Far West Texas chapter of the group.
Medina served in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1970.
"I was with the aviation helicopters and we distributed ammunition, food, water, everything. Plus, we helped them out whenever the infantry would get in trouble," Medina said.
Medina was awarded the Bronze for meritory service in connection with a military operation against hostile fire. Somehow his paperwork was lost in the system and he never received the award.
His caseworker at the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Center in East El Paso did the work to make sure Medina got his award.
"I thought Mr. Solis was going to call me into the office and say, 'Here's the medal that you're supposed to get,' and that's all. I didn't think it was going to be like this," said Medina.
"It was nice to see him and his reaction because he did what he loved, the military," said Genaro Medina Jr., Medina's son.