After months of planning, a date has been set for a ceremony in honor of local recipients of the Korean War Ambassador for Peace Medal.
The event will be held Aug. 30 at noon at the Council on Aging, 951 Mammoth Road, Dracut.
“I’m thrilled. I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Dracut Veterans’ Service Officer Jeffrey C. Hollett, who launched a quest last winter to find local men and women who served in the war as part of a partnership between the state Department of Veterans’ Services and the Consulate of the Republic of Korea.
Hollett credited an article in The Sun of Lowell for the overwhelming response he has received in recent months. He said he fielded several hundred calls from people about the medal.
At the ceremony, there will be 41 recipients of the medal, which, according to the Massachusetts government website, is an expression of appreciation from the Korean government to American servicemen and women who served in the Korean War. Several of the 41 medals to be given out posthumously, Hollett said.
Hollett said he checked out more than 140 veterans, a little over half of which were represented by relatives who reached out to him on behalf of their loved ones. He later said he has yet to locate a female Korean War veteran, although he hopes he and those working with him will be successful in doing so.
To be eligible for the Korean War Ambassador for Peace Medal, the veterans must have served during the Korean War from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953. The award is also available for veterans who participated in United Nations peacekeeping operations until the end of 1955, according to a flier.
“It’s a wonderful, well-deserved event,” said Town Manager Jim Duggan, adding that he is glad Hollett “has taken the lead to do that.”
Duggan said, “Our veterans deserve as much praise as possible for the sacrifices they and their families have given their country.”
Hollett recalled thinking he would be hard-pressed to find a handful of living eligible veterans in Dracut. Now the veterans who will be honored next month stretch beyond the town. In total they represent 10 communities, including Dracut, Chelmsford, Tewksbury, Lowell and even three from New Hampshire.
“They call it ‘the forgotten war,'” Hollett said of Korea, ” but this was a war that was victorious. This is a peace medal, and that’s the beauty of this medal. We’re commemorating the Korean War-era veterans that dedicated their lives to our nation and to the freedom of the South Korean people.”
Applications are still being accepted for the award. Those interested may contact Hollett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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