BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (5/6/13) – Brigadier General Dan Cherry of Bowling Green captivated the audience at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center last Friday night. Cherry was the keynote speaker for the Veterans Upward Bound Annual Awards Banquet. VUB is a free educational program for veterans at Western Kentucky University.
More than 60 people, mostly veterans, came to the by-invitation-only event to hear Gen. Cherry talk about the story that inspired him to write a book called "My Enemy, My Friend." The General is a Vietnam War veteran and a former fighter pilot who retired from the U.S. Air Force after 29 years of honorable service.
During his fascinating hour-long lecture, Cherry used slides, videos and narrative to describe how he shot down an enemy MiG-21 during the war and became friends with the North Vietnamese pilot of that plane after the war. Gen. Cherry calls this experience "a story of reconciliation from the Vietnam War."
Following the General's remarks, several outstanding former and current VUB students were recognized for their achievements. The Alumnus of the Year award was given to Kent Johnson of Bowling Green. Greg Stokes, a Bowling Green resident, was selected at the Student of the Year.
A total of $2600 worth of scholarships were granted to six VUB students including: Philip Parsons, John Henning, Wilbert Bascom Jr., Randall Bratcher, Teresa Jameson and Rick Spears. These scholarships were sponsored by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA's Cumberland Trace Chapter in Bowling Green), the American Legion Post 23, the VFW Post 1298, Col. Robert Spiller and the MOAA Wives Auxiliary.
Nearly 100 student veterans were cited in the banquet program for either completing or enrolling in a college degree plan during the 2012-13 academic year.
"The entire evening was a great showcase for the can-do spirit of these veterans," said VUB Coordinator/Counselor Rick Wright. "General Cherry is a great role model and a real inspiration for all of these student veterans who strive for excellence every day."
Information provided by Tommy Newton (Western Kentucky University)
Photo provided by WKU
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