Medal of Honor winner to speak at breakfast

All veterans and their spouses are invited to a Veteran’s Breakfast at 8 am on Saturday May 30 at the Waterloo Baptist Church on Route 96. Doors open at 7 am & admission is free but registrations are required by calling 315-539-2029 or www.waterloobaptistchurch.org.The guest speaker will be Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch. Sergeant, U.S. Army Company B, 5th Special Forces Group, Abn, 1st Special Forces.“We are honored to bring Sgt. Beikirch to Waterloo to share his message of hope and support,” said Dave Underwood, pastor of Waterloo Baptist Church. “We want to honor our veterans, and allow them to hear something that will bless them. Plus we put on a really good meal.”A Rochester native, Beikirch enlisted in the Army in August of 1967 after completing two years of college in upstate New York. He completed basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and was selected for Special Forces training. After completion of Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he continued on to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for Special Forces and medical training. He served with the 3rd, 5th, and 10th Special Forces Groups as a Medical and Light Weapons Specialist.Beikirch deployed as part of the 5th Special Forces Group in the summer of 1969 to the Kontum Province of Vietnam. During his deployment, SGT Beikirch was assigned as the team medic to the remote Montagnard village of Dak Seang in the Central Highlands near the border of Laos. On April 1, 1970 a massive force of North Vietnamese troops attacked the camp resulting in high American and Montagnard casualties. Ignoring his own personal safety and suffering multiple wounds in combat, SGT Beikirch rescued numerous American, Vietnamese, and Montagnard casualties. For his actions during the battle of Dak Seang, SGT Beikirch was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on 15 October 1973.Sgt Beikirch’s military awards and decorations include: the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Medic Badge, American and Vietnamese Airborne Wings.Upon completion of his military service, Beikirch became an ordained minister and received a Masters Degree in educational counseling. His career experiences include hospital and prison ministry, youth ministry, a team counselor for the Veterans Outreach Center and most recently serving as the Chaplain of the Medal of Honor Society. He has recently retired after having served as a middle school counselor in Rochester for over 33 years. He now spends his time traveling and speaking to our military, veterans, community and school groups with his message of making a difference in the lives of others…living a life of significance. Beikirch currently resides in Rochester, NY with his wife, Loreen. They have 3 children Stephanie, Stephen, and Sarah as well as 14 grandchildren.

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