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County names portion of park after Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch

Max Schulte/WXXI News
Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam War veteran Gary Beikirch hugs a fellow veteran after a portion of Highland Park was dedicated as the Gary Beikirch Memorial Park on May 13, 2021.

A local war hero and Medal of Honor recipient was saluted Thursday as a portion of Highland Park was dedicated in his name.

Elected officials joined veterans and residents for the unveiling of the sign for the Gary Beikirch Memorial Park. It's near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park.

Beikirch, who was a medic in the Vietnam War, received the Medal of Honor for treating wounded soldiers in 1970 while also fighting off the North Vietnamese -- despite being wounded himself.

During the ceremony, Beikirch said he wants visitors to remember more than just the one name that is depicted on the sign -- he wants people to see a sign that says "welcome home."

"It's a simple phrase; there's only two words," he said. "But the words mean so much, especially to the men and women coming home after serving our country."

He said it's also a message to every man and woman who has served.

"That we remember, we honor, and that we will never forget your sacrifice and service, to keep our homes and our communities free," he said.

Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News
Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam War veteran Gary Beikirch and his wife, Loreen, stand near the sign for the portion of Highland Park that was dedicated Thursday in his name.

After leaving the military, Beikirch became an ordained minister, worked with veterans, and served as a guidance counselor.

County Executive Adam Bello said through that work, Beikirch made a difference in countless lives.

Nick Stefanovich, director of the Monroe County Veterans Service Agency, said his hope is that someone walking in Highland Park decades from now will see the sign, turn to their children and teach them about Beikirch and what he stood for.

Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News
Gary Beikirch speaks at Thursday's dedication.