(DES MOINES, Iowa) U.S. Senator Joni Ernst presented military service medals Friday to two central Iowa Vietnam Veterans. Larry Spaur of Pleasantville and Harry "Joe" Wray of Des Moines.
Spaur was a machine gunner in the war. He talked at the ceremony about being badly injured during the war by an enemy rocket. He says was in his bunker at the time, and the rocket took out the bunker underneath him, and killed his three best friends who had been in the bunker.
Spaur says after the war he returned to his family farm, married and raised a family. Recently, he had been trying to get compensation for his injuries from the Veterans Administration and it was determined that the proper paperwork was missing, so he contacted Senator Ernst's Office. Staffers were able to track down his medals.
Spaur says receiving the medals gives him a sense of closure.
He also says not all that long ago, he was contacted by some former service members, who had lost track of him, looked him up, called and they've had several reunions.
Spaur met another Vietnam Veteran at the medal ceremony in Des Moines, Harry "Joe" Wray.
Wray was drafted in 1965, and went to Vietnam a year later, where he worked in the motor pool as a mechanic. He returned to Des Moines after the war, and resumed his career as a mechanic at local dealerships.
Wray says during a recent conversation with a local VA official it was determined that he never received medals earned during his military service.
He says he appreciates Senator Ernst and her staff's efforts in tracking down the medals, saying it's "fantastic" and means a lot to him.
ABOVE (U.S. Senator Joni Ernst and Larry Spaur)
BELOW (U.S. Senator Join Ernst and Harry "Joe" Wray)