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Medal of Honor recipient part of Traveling Wall ceremony

Veteran Don Jenkins to be recognized July 10

By Lisa Aug

Frankfort, KY - The opening ceremony for the Traveling Vietnam Wall on Friday, July 10, will also recognize one of Kentucky's Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War.

Don Jenkins, of Morgantown, will be recognized at the ceremony at 10 amET Friday, July 10, while the American Veterans Traveling Tribute wall is on display at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Jenkins and Gary Littrell, who lives in Florida, are Kentucky's two living Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War.

The wall's visit to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington is sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA), through a grant from the Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund.

"Don Jenkins and Gary Littrell are unique living symbols of the heroism and sacrifice of Kentucky's Vietnam Veterans," said KDVA Commissioner Heather French Henry. "We are deeply appreciative that Mr. Jenkins will be present at this event."

Littrell is not able to attend Friday's event.

The traveling wall, an 80-percent scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., will be on display at the Horse Park from noon Thursday, July 9 through 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12. Eight feet high and 360 feet long, it provides an electronic locator to help visitors find the names of particular service members carved in the wall.

Gov. Steve Beshear will be the keynote speaker at the July 10 opening ceremony, followed by retired Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry and Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields.

Visitors to the Traveling Wall are encouraged to leave photographs, flowers or other mementos to loved ones. KDVA asks that everyone attending this special showing of the Memorial Wall respect the request of the Wall's sponsors to not bring weapons when they visit.

Visitors to the Traveling Wall and the opening ceremony will be able to enter the Horse Park and park free of charge. After it opens July 9 at noon, the wall exhibit will be open 24 hours a day through 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12.

This year, Gov. Beshear proclaimed March 30, 2015, as Vietnam Veterans' Day in Kentucky, as part of Kentucky's partnership in the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemoration. Last September, more than 500 veterans, family and friends commemorated that anniversary in a ceremony at the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Frankfort.

A total of 1,104 Kentuckians died in the Vietnam War. In addition to appearing on the Traveling Wall, their names are inscribed at the permanent memorial in Frankfort, where a shadow falls on each veteran's name on the anniversary of death.

There are approximately 111,000 Vietnam veterans living in the Commonwealth, and many continue to serve their communities and fellow veterans through volunteerism, counseling and camaraderie.

Gov. Beshear's administration has worked hard to show support and appreciation for veterans and military families, in ways large and small.

For example, Gov. Beshear, state and federal officials this year announced the launch of telemental health services out of the Joseph "Eddie" Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, part of an effort to expand mental health services to veterans in western Kentucky. KDVA is also in the process of building a fourth state veterans nursing home, in Radcliff. Construction began in July 2013; the facility is scheduled to open around the end of this year.

This story was posted on 2015-07-06 15:26:01
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