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Area veterans added to local Wall of Valor

Three area veterans were inducted into the Wall of Valor at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. The inductees included Robert Herschbach of Perryville, shown in the top photo with his wife, Rosemary. Zachery Lafferty, left, narrated the ceremony while Medical Center Director Paul Hopkins, right, presented framed photos of the inductees to them and/or their family members. The other inductees were the late Robert W. Leathers, whose daughter, Robin Tripp of Sikeston, accepted the framed photo from Hopkins, and Kenneth Robinson of Perryville, with his wife, Sharon and Paul Hopkins. Photos by Gregory Dullum

Three area veterans were inducted into the electronic Wall of Valor at the Cape Girardeau VA Health Care Center on Friday. They were recognized for their heroic actions while serving in the U.S. Army and Marines during the Vietnam War.

To be eligible for the Wall of Valor, veterans must have earned and been awarded a medal which bestows valor for serving in combat against an enemy of the United States or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force.

Medals of valor include the medal of honor, silver star, bronze star, Army commendation, Navy commendation, distinguished flying cross or any award presented with a “V” for valor device.

Kenneth Robinson of Perryville had received the Navy commendation medal with “V” device for his meritorious service with the Eleventh Marines, First Marine Division, from June 29, 1970, to March 1971. During the induction ceremony, Kenneth and his wife, Sharon, received a framed photo of him from Medical Center Director Paul Hopkins.

Robert Herschbach of Perryville had received a bronze star medal with a “V” device while serving as a specialist five in the Survey Section, Headquarters Battery, II Field Force Vietnam Artillery, at Fire support Base Illington, when attacked by a hostile force on April 1, 1970. During the ceremony, he and his wife, Rosemary, also received a framed photo from Hopkins.

The late Robert W. Leathers of Sikeston had received the bronze star medal with a “V” device for heroic actions on April 12, 1969, while serving as a sergeant first class with Company E, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry, in Vietnam. His daughter, Robin Tripp accepted the framed photo on behalf of her father. Leathers had three other children, Leila Busby, Sheila Armbruster and Robert W. Leathers II, and one granddaughter who lives in Jackson: Sheena Pincksten.

The photos and stories of these three veterans will rotate on a large-screen TV on the Wall of Valor, along with 16 previous inductees. Visitors to the wall may tap the screen for a list of all the inductees to immediately see any one of them.

A similar Wall of Valor at the John J. Pershing Medical center in Poplar Bluff has 146 inductees.

During the ceremony, Lotoya Halliburton welcomed the attendees, Pastor Daniel Deabaugh gave the invocation, Robert Fisher led the Pledge of Allegiance, Talia Bowman sang the National Anthem, J. Dale Garrett, chief of center for development and civic engagement, and Medical Center Director Paul Hopkins gave remarks.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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