The first living Marine to receive the nation’s highest honor for valor in either Iraq or Afghanistan comes from a rural town in south central Kentucky.
President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer for bravery shown in Afghanistan. Meyer is a 2006 graduate of Green County High School and is a native of Greensburg, Kentucky.
Corporal Meyer is only the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was contacted by President Obama Monday about the award.
Meyer is being honored for his actions on September 8, 2009. He charged into an embattled area on foot and alone to find three missing Marines and a Navy corpsman who had been pinned down under enemy fire in a remote village near the Pakistan border in Afghanistan. Meyer was wounded by shrapnel, but he found his comrades, who had been killed. He helped carry them from the battle zone. (The Navy Times has a good description of the incident here.)
Meyer was accepted into both Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky after high school, but decided to join the Marines instead. “He told me he wasn’t ready for college,” Mike Meyer, Dakota’s father, told the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader last year.
Dakota Meyer left active duty in June 2010 and now lives in Austin, Texas. Mike Meyer said his son’s transition to civilian life has been hard. Dakota does not like to talk about the firefight that he will be honored for. “The one-year anniversary (of the incident) was hard on him,” the elder Meyer told the Herald-Leader. “He thinks of those guys a lot. He wears two bracelets with their names on it. I’ve never seen him take them off.”
“It’s a long shot to receive it,” Meyer said last year after learning that he had been nominated to receive the Medal of Honor. “At the end of the day, it’s not about me. I’m absolutely the furthest thing from a hero. I’m just an ordinary guy who got put in extraordinary circumstances and just did my job.”
• Sparkman, Arkansas, is finding economic development potential in its children. The town passed the hat and has collected enough money to help graduates from its high school to go to a state university.
• Don’t miss the Minnesota Post’s continuing series on rural communities in the state. Today, there’s an interview with Marian Sanchez, a 30 year-old native of Columbia who has started a tri-lingual newspaper in the town of Willmar. (The languages are Spanish, English and Somali.)
• The Formula Fairness Campaign is trying to round up sponsors for the All Children are Equal Act, which was introduced earlier this month. The act would address inequities in federal education funding that gives urban schools an edge over rural schools.
The act has 11 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, a near equal mix of Democrats and Republicans. Check out the details here.
• Sugar workers in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota could be locked out if a new contract is not reached between the union and American Crystal Sugar by August 1.
Crystal has a five factories in the region, including a large plant in Crookston, Minnesota. The company employs 1,000 year-round workers and 350 workers during the annual sugar beet processing season.