Aggie Women's basketball coach among veterans honored for service

Published: Apr. 5, 2018 at 1:36 PM CDT
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Thirteen local veterans, including Texas A&M Women's Basketball head coach Gary Blair, were recognized Thursday morning for their service to our nation and the Brazos Valley.

Representative Bill Flores, (R) District 17, honored the men in a ceremony at American Legion - Earl Graham Post 159. The veterans who get this commendation are nominated by their friends and neighbors in recognition of both their military service and service to their respective communities. Recipients of the commendation get a special commemorative challenge coin, a certificate of recognition and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in their honor on Veterans Day.

The group honored Thursday have service histories that span over 65 years, from the Korean War to the ongoing War on Terror. Here are their names:

Claude Gary Blair of Bryan

Jonathan Cassens of Bryan

Charles “Chuck” Clark of College Station

Luther G. Crum, Jr of College Station

Robert B. Ellis of Bryan

Caton O. Milstead of Bryan

Larry E. Fikes of Bryan

Royce H. Hickman, Jr. of College Station

John Carl Hince of Bryan

Frank J. Kocman, Jr. of Bryan

Thomas Andrew Marty of College Station

Charles J. Opersteny of Bryan

Miguel Orozco of College Station

"It honestly feels good to get a little recognition from your community," said John Hince.

"It's a bit humbling when you look at the gentleman who have received this award. Everyone has contributed greatly to our community because they raised their hand and promised to preserve and defend the Constitution and serve their fellow man and our country," Hince said.

"These folk are nominated by their friends, by their neighbors, their fellow church members, their coworkers. So, then we surprise them with these awards," said Rep. Bill Flores.

"You could tell from the reaction from the crowd that it was a great event. I am humbled to give this recognition and I think they are exceptionally honored to receive them as well," continued Flores.

"This is one of the most meaningful awards that I, personally, have ever received," said Royce Hickman.

"To me, it was honor to serve in the military and its been an incredible honor to serve the Bryan College Station community and you don't do these things for any recognition."

"My time in the marine corps during the Vietnam era was something that made me grow as a man and realize how important serving was," said Coach Gary Blair.

"Nobody has to be a hero, but everybody can serve their community or their country and I think that's what they need to do," Blair continued.