SYCAMORE – There's a new member of the DeKalb County Veterans Hall of Fame.
Richard "Hawk" Westlake, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who served from October 1966 to July 1968 and separated as a sergeant, stood in the DeKalb County Legislative Center's "Gathertorium," as he was honored Wednesday night during the county board's regular meeting.
"On behalf of all Mohawkers throughout the United States and the world, thank you very much for this award," Westlake said. "I know the guys are going to be as happy and proud as I am right now."
Westlake, who wore a green polo shirt with the words "OV-1 Mohawk Aerial Recon" for the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk, an aircraft designed for aerial reconnaissance, appreciated the honor.
Tammy Anderson, superintendent for the DeKalb Veterans Assistance Commission, spoke about the honor and how it's one way the county can show respect to those who have served.
"The DeKalb County Veterans Honor Roll is a small way we can continue to honor the men and women who sacrificed so much for our country," she said. "Once inducted, the names of the veterans will be added to the honor roil plaque located outside the Veterans Assistance Commission in DeKalb."
Anderson said the veterans' names also appear on an honor roll that's maintained in the County Clerk's office.
"Richard served in the Army from October 1966 to July 1966 and was awarded the Air Medal with three gold leaf clusters, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, (and) the National Defense Service Medal," Anderson said.
Westlake also earned the Good Conduct Medal, which Anderson called her favorite one.
"Kind of surprised on that one," she joked.
Anderson, who has known Westlake for more than 25 years, said he's the reason why she works for the DeKalb County Veterans Assistance Commission. She said Westlake told her about the job and campaigned for her.
"Rich has always been an avid supporter of all veterans," she said. "He's just a wonderful person and it's just an honor to present that to you."
Westlake called the moment a pretty emotional one. He said when he found out on Sunday he was going to be honored, he said he just about got a standing ovation. He then thanked the county again.
"I appreciate this and continue the work you guys are doing," Westlake said.