By J.D. LeipoldSeptember 14, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept, 14, 2011) -- Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, a native son of New Mexico, was presented with a congressional resolution by that state's delegation, Sept. 13.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman opened the ceremony. He said the resolution was the right thing to do, to commend Petry for his personal character, courage, loyalty, humility and kindness.
"Those are characteristics and virtues that are recognized by all," Bingaman said. "I'm told before each of his deployments his father would tell him not to be a hero, but to simply do his job and come home safely."
"He did return home safely and he did so because of his own heroism. He was able to bring two of his Army Ranger brothers back with him because of that heroism," the senator continued. "So, it's with the utmost gratitude that we honor Sergeant First Class Petry today and thank him again for his extraordinary service to the country."
Sen. Tom Udall introduced the resolution and saw it through Congress. He told the audience that when he attended Petry's Medal of Honor ceremony, he was struck by Petry's modesty and his persistent willingness to continue to serve.
"Sergeant Petry is a modest man and what has impressed me the most about him is his persistent willingness to serve -- as Senator Bingaman mentioned -- wanting to go back and continue to serve even after all he has been through," Udall said.
"Even after he was injured, he went back to Afghanistan to stand alongside other servicemembers," Udall said. "He continues to share his experience as an ambassador for our armed services, most importantly his work with his fellow wounded warriors helping them transition back to civilian life. We can all learn from his example of national service."
When Petry, a 12-year Army veteran, took the podium, the audience gave him a standing ovation. He thanked his wife and family for their continuing support and for enduring his deployments -- two to Iraq, six in Afghanistan.
"I'm almost in awe," Petry said. "I keep getting bestowed with such honors and I have nothing to give back but what I can do in my job with the military and community, so anything I can do I'm humbled to do for all the honor I've been given. But it's not all mine, it's everyone in the service. It's truly an honor to keep serving."
In May 2008 in Afghanistan on one of his eight deployments, Petry lost his right hand to an enemy grenade during a firefight. Even though he had been wounded in both legs, he picked the grenade up and threw it clear of the area to save the lives of two fellow Soldiers. For his actions, President Barack Obama presented Petry with the Medal of Honor.