Retired U.S. Army Major Cleo Hogan awarded Rodney Herring with a Kentucky Colonel certificate in a surprise ceremony at the John C. Gainous Post #10069 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Port St. Joe.
Herring accepted the award, signed by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, to the applause and tears of his fellow veterans.
“It’s the highest honor that the state of Kentucky can bestow,” said Hogan. “It recognizes acts of heroism, and outstanding accomplishments in the community.”
Hogan said that only three other Kentucky Colonel awards had been awarded to individuals in Florida and this was the first in 15 years.
“I saw a very deserving individual,” said Hogan. “He’s dedicated his life to helping the community and his fellow veterans."
Hogan served under Staff Sergeant and Port St. Joe native Clifford C. Sims during the Vietnam War.
In February 1968, amidst the Tet Offensive, Company D, 2nd Battalion came under attack by enemy soldiers and Sims threw himself on a grenade, sacrificing himself to save his unit.
After his death, Sims received the Congessional Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism.
The John C. Gainous VFW Post 10069 is located in Highland View and invites all qualified combat veterans to visit the Post and apply for membership.
The Post is open every day and meets on the second Tuesday of every month.