BULLARD, Texas (KETK) – Medal of Honor recipients and event organizers for the Texas Veterans Military Show visited the Brook Hill School in Bullard to speak with students Friday.
“900 students holding flags when we came in, very moving sight. It’s humbling to me,” said Mike Balfay, Board President and Event Organizer, Bullard Fire Department.
Each Medal of Honor recipient shared their story of courage on the battlefield.
“They don’t consider themselves heroes, they consider that they wear the medal for those that could not return,” said Balfay.
One of the guests, Col. Don “Doc” Ballard, received the Medal of Honor while serving in Vietnam as a United States Navy Corpsman. He said it’s important to talk to children about defending our country and why it matters.
“The most important thing our older generation can do is pass the legacy of patriotism and Americanism to the new leaders of our great country,” Ballard said.
Each veteran said they did not do it for the medal.
“I wear it because people that I saved their lives thought I was worthy of it, but in reality, I did it out of love,” Ballard said.
Fellow Medal of Honor recipients Michael Fitzmaurice and Robert Patterson were also in attendance, along with family members of other Medal of Honor recipients.
The visit was the start to three days filled with thanks and honor for those who have served.
On Saturday at 9:30 a.m. the Medal of Honor recipients will take off in a parade. It will start at the Stewart Family Funeral Home in Tyler, and travel south on Old Jacksonville Highway all the way to 655 S. Doctor M. Roper Parkway (Highway 69 South) in Bullard.
After the parade from Tyler, they will set up on Highway 69 South in Bullard where East Texans will get the chance to get an up-close look at military past and present and experience an amazing sight.
“The Navy auxiliary brings an 80-foot American flag, the guard riders will hold it up and I’ll have four or five World War II planes do the flyover, one of them is a B25, the rest of them will be T6’s,” said Balfay.
On Sunday, there will be a special moment. A Gold Star Family dedication for the Woody Williams Gold Star Memorial will be held at the Brook Hill School at 2 p.m.
“This is the only gold star family memorial in a 14-county area, Tyler and Longview doesn’t have one,” said Balfay.
Everything being done to honor the men and women who have fought for our freedom.