Sam Johnson recognizes local veterans at second annual Congressional Veteran Commendation
Today U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03) recognized the service and sacrifice of eleven local veterans at a public ceremony for his second annual Congressional Veteran Commendation (CVC). Johnson launched CVC in 2011 as a way to formally recognize the wartime sacrifices and peacetime community involvement of residents of the Third District of Texas.
The CVC, in conjunction with the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress, is a nominations-based program that preserves the personal accounts of veterans for future generations.
“North Texas has a tremendous legacy of patriotism and service,” said Johnson, a 29-year Air Force Veteran, “and I am proud to know these admirable men and women. We owe it to future generations to spotlight their service and preserve their stories.”
An eight-member selection board comprised of local individuals dedicated to serving as leaders in their community advised and assisted in the nominations and selection process. Congressman Johnson, along with the selection board, recognized the group of recipients at the October 20th event in Plano. Johnson also presented a Congressional Record chronicling the veterans’ military service. Information on each honoree follows:
John Franklin Bagwell of Dallas served in the U.S. Army where he faced treacherous combat in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. For his years of service and heroic actions, Bagwell was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Sharpshooter Badge, and Presidential Citation. Bagwell continues to serve his local community through volunteering at the Canyon Creek Baptist Church Prayer Ministry, Interfaith Housing Coalition for the homeless, and his position on numerous boards and PTA President for Forest Ridge Elementary School in Richardson.
Major Scott Edward Barnett of Frisco has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for over 21 years. Barnett has mobilized for active duty deployment twice to Iraq, and recently to Afghanistan. Currently specializing as a Civil Affairs Officer, Barnett is highly decorated for his years of outstanding service. He has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, four Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Department of State Meritorious Honor, Humanitarian Service Medal, and numerous campaign awards. Barnett is currently a firefighter and paramedic for the McKinney Fire Department.
John Joseph Bick of Allen served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam as a combat reporter with the 9th Division Public Information Office. On numerous occasions, he doubled as an infantryman when his unit came under fire. For his heroic combat actions, Bick was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device, Air Medal, Vietnam campaign medal with two service stars, and the Army Good Conduct medal. Bick went on to lead a distinguished career in journalism and publishing, including his creation of Inside Collin County Business. He volunteers for the Career Alliance Ministry of St. Jude’s parish, March of Dimes, the Plano Chamber of Commerce, the Collin County Christian Prayer Breakfast, and the Plano and Richardson Symphony Orchestras.
Lt. General Richard E. Carey of Allen, a graduate of the Naval war College, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1945 to 1983, where he retired from his post as Commanding General, Marine Corps Development and Education Command in Quanitco, VA. Through his career as a Naval Aviator and Assistant Wing Commander, Carey served in combat operations in Vietnam and Japan. Upon his retirement, General Carey had accrued the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with gold star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and gold star, Air Medal with numeral 15, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Presidential Unit Citation with three bronze stars, Navy United Commendation Medal with bronze star, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. He was also well-known for strengthening the famous Marine Corps Marathon. Now a resident of Plano, Texas, General Carey continues to serve his local community and is very involved with the VA North Texas System.
Joseph Louis Cordina of Parker, an Air Force Academy graduate, served in the U.S. Air Force for 31 years, retiring at the rank of Colonel. On a mission in 1972, Cordina’s heroic actions that saved 15 lives earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1979, Cordina became an Air Force Liaison Officer, overseeing more than 40 appointments for cadets to the Air Force. He has also served his community as the Mayor of the City of Parker, Vice President of the North Texas Association of Mayors, and President of the Texas Small Cities Advisory Council. In addition, Joe has been a leader in multiple homeowners associations and served as Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 1191 in Richardson, Texas.
Timothy Dowd Allen served in the U.S. Marine Corps for23 years as a senior drill instructor, water survival instructor, interrogator/translator, customs inspector, recruiter, and sniper team platoon commander. He also served deployments in Kuwait and Iraq. During his career, Down earned the Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained on deployment in Iraq, as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation with “V” device, four Navy Achievement medals, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon. Dowd now serves his community as a police officer for the City of Allen.
Anna Janis of Plano joined the WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, after the U.S. entered World War II. Janis received training in naval accounting, Morse Code, and flag signaling before her unit, Company D, Platoon 4, was transported from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor. Janis now serves her community through donation drives for military chaplains and VA Hospital patients, and she works with the Cell Phones for Soldiers program and assists with mission projects through Christ Church in Plano.
Joseph Martin Graves of Plano joined the U.S. Army in 1944 at the age of 16, though he had to lie about his age in order to serve his country during World War II. During Graves’s military career, he earned a Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained in the Philippine Islands, as well as the Combat Infantryman Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with Bronze Star, Philippine Liberation Medal with Bronze Star, and the Army Good Conduct Medal. Graves is known for his patriotism, as he displays a 25-foot flagpole in front of is Plano home.
JD Gresham of Plano served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. Drafted into World War II after his junior year of high school, Gresham was sent to New Guinea, where he encountered combat on multiple occasions. For heroism in battle and 22 years of distinguished service, Gresham earned the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and numerous other decorations.
David Hollands of Plano served in the U.S. Army for 30 years, retiring with the rank of Colonel. Hollands participated in several combat missions, including a combat parachute assault into Panama during Operation Just Cause and the “Hail Mary” attack against the Iraqi Republican Guards during Operation Desert Storm. Hollands gives back to veterans and wounded warriors through his involvement in the Casey Joyce VFW Post 4380 in Plano and connects wounded veterans with trusted financial planners through a Financial Planning Association initiative.
Gary Dean Sheets of Plano received his commission as a U.S. Air Force officer upon his graduation from the Academy in 1960. Sheets because a forward air controller and flew numerous missions over Laos and completed 80 missions over North Vietnam. For his exemplary leadership and heroism during his lengthy career, Gary was awarded two Legions of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Defense Meritorious Service Medals, ten Air Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, a Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Readiness Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and other accolades. Sheets served 16 years as a deacon with Prestonwood Baptist Church, making hundreds of hospital visits and participating in dozens of community service projects. Following Sheets’s passing in September, his wife Sylvia stood in for him at the ceremony.
For more information about the Congressional Veteran Commendation, contact Johnson’s Richardson office at (972)470-0892.
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