MISSOURI (KFVS) - Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder recently presented Veterans Service Awards to 26 Missouri veterans who provide exemplary volunteer service to their communities.
Winners were selected from seven regions of the state.
The winners in Southeast Missouri were Kenneth Bender of Cape Girardeau, Orvis Deremiah of Farmington, Gayle Langan of Ste. Genevieve, Lyle "Mike" Larrew of Poplar Bluff and Roger Riley of Jackson.
Lt. Governor Kinder honored all the winners on April 29 at a banquet in their honor in the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Deremiah and Riley were unable to attend Tuesday's banquet.
"As young men and women, when their nation called, all these winners answered that call, serving their country selflessly," Kinder said. "Like many of Missouri's veterans, they continued to serve their communities when they returned home after their military service, giving back to their neighbors through countless hours of volunteering."
Bender, an Army Air Corps veteran, was nominated by the Cape Girardeau Noon Lions Club. He flew 22 missions on B-29 bombers in World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star for his heroism during the war. He has since devoted his life to volunteering for the betterment of Cape Girardeau.
"Kenneth has served Cape Girardeau for more than 50 years as a member of the Noon Lions Club," Kinder said. "He serves through many organizations including the Legion Post 158, VFW Post 3838, 330th Bomb Group Association, Chateau Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau Public Library, Friends of the Library, the Historical Association of Greater Cape Girardeau and the Cape River Heritage Museum. He is very active in the community, and through his efforts he helps to make Cape Girardeau – my home – a wonderful town."
Deremiah, an Air Force veteran, was nominated by the VA Outpatient Medical Clinic in Farmington, where he has volunteered for years.
"For over seven years, Orvis has volunteered more than 1,800 hours of his time helping to run the Farmington VA outpatient clinic," Kinder said. "Every day he arrives with a smile on his face, completing essential tasks that help keep the clinic running."
Langan, a 26-year Air Force veteran, was nominated by American Legion Post 150 in Ste. Genevieve, where she established the American Legion Riders and the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 150.
"In addition, Gayle was instrumental in raising $75,000 for the Missouri Girls Town home for abused girls," Kinder said. "On Veterans Day and throughout the year she is a constant visitor of veterans' homes in and around Ste. Genevieve, where she reminds them they are not forgotten with a small ceremony and presentation of gifts."
Larrew, an Army veteran, was nominated by State Sen. Doug Libla. He has volunteered for 22 years with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. He also volunteers at Northside Nutrition in Poplar Bluff.
"For the past seven years, Mike has donated thousands of hours of his time delivering meals to seniors through Northside Nutrition, spending extra time with everyone on his route, brightening their days," Kinder said.
Riley, also an Army veteran, was nominated by Marlene Cloude of Jackson. For many years he has volunteered for the AARP and the Internal Revenue Service helping seniors prepare their tax returns. He also volunteers with the Goldwing Road Rider's Association and Southeast Missouri Food Bank's Meals on Wheels program.
"Since 2003, Roger has been a volunteer tax preparer for the AARP, helping seniors and people of all ages," Kinder said. "He works year-round, donating his time as the regional director. Also, since 1994 he has been a member of the Goldwing Road Rider's Association, where he is now is the Motorist Awareness Coordinator, emphasizing to the public to be alert for motorcyclists."
All of the award winners received an official declaration from the lieutenant governor's office recognizing their service.