Havre de Grace city officials honored a local Vietnam War veteran, who earned the second-highest honor a member of the Army can earn during wartime, and also announced the appointment of an interim city director of administration.
"God bless you, sir, and thank you so much," Mayor Wayne Dougherty told former Army Staff Sgt. Sherman Fuller after reading a proclamation in Fuller's honor during Monday's city council meeting.
Fuller, 71, earned the Distinguished Service Cross, which is second only to the Medal of Honor, for his actions while serving in Vietnam during 1966.
Fuller, a native of Bel Air, was a sergeant and a squad leader with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) leading his men against North Vietnamese troops "to eliminate a prime machine gun position," according to the presidential citation.
His unit came under enemy fire, and two of his troops were killed, two others were wounded. Fuller was able to get help for the wounded soldiers, and then turned to assist "a wounded medical aidman."
"Undaunted by the increasing firefight activity and devastating air strikes in close proximity, he began administering first aid to the man," the citation continues.
Fuller covered the wounded soldier with his body after a North Vietnamese gunner "began raking the area with voluminous fire."
Fuller was hit, but he "continued to engage the enemy until he was forced to be evacuated."
Fuller, surrounded by his wife, children and friends, spoke during the council meeting about his experience recovering from his wounds in Japan, his Army career during the 1960s, which included being stationed in Germany when the Berlin Wall was built, dividing the city between east and west, and his 31-year career as a civilian defense employee.
Fuller thanked city leaders for the honor.
"As long as I could keep that war out of this country, I don't have a second thought," he said of the Vietnam conflict.
Dougherty acknowledged those who fought in what has been termed an "unpopular war."
"You don't have to thank us," he told Fuller. "We owe you everything that we have today."
Warner Taylor, historian for American Legion Post 47 in Havre de Grace, said he is working to establish an "Our Heroes Room" at the post to honor members who served in combat.
"It's going to take time to do what we're going to do, and money, but I'm working on that too," he said.
Taylor encouraged local residents to contribute to the project.
Mary Wilson, commander of VFW Post 8126 in Havre de Grace, was also at the meeting. She also served in Vietnam with the Army.
"Welcome home," she told Fuller as he and his family left City Hall.