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Published: Wednesday, 2/6/2008

Perrysburg veteran of Iraq war honored for service

Joshua Thompson has a hand injury and a heart and lung condition from his service in Iraq. Joshua Thompson has a hand injury and a heart and lung condition from his service in Iraq.

Army veteran Joshua Thompson seemed a bit embarrassed to be the object of attention last week at a gathering in his honor at the Schaller Memorial Building in Perrysburg.

The Perrysburg American Legion Post 28 organized the event to present Mr. Thompson with a $500 check from the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to helping active-duty troops and veterans who suffered disabling injuries serving in the war on terror.

Mr. Thompson, 26, a Perrysburg Township resident, spent 2005 in Iraq as a combat engineer, serving on four bases. Today, he's a veteran with a 40 percent disability. He developed a heart and lung condition in Iraq and an injured right hand he smashed while moving equipment.

The $500 will come in handy, Mr. Thompson acknowledged. He said that he would spend it on his mother, Debra, who has cancer. He lives with her and helps her.

"She was diagnosed three months before I went to Iraq," he said.

Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans and representatives of the American Legion, the National Guard, Air National Guard, and Navy attended.

"Your sacrifice goes without saying," Mr. Evans said in brief remarks. "We appreciate your time, your efforts, and your sacrifice Perrysburg would not be what we are today without our military. On behalf of the citizens of Perrysburg, thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice."

Mayor Evans also noted that Doug Dariano, the city's engineer, was on deployment in Iraq. "Hopefully, he'll be back in March," he said.

Mr. Thompson declined to speak at the function.

Patrick Norberto, director of marketing and development for the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, said his group gave $500,000 to the American Legion for distribution to veterans who were at least 30 percent disabled. The money went quickly.

"We made the announcement at our conference in early December and it's all been given away," he explained. "Our veterans have made a big sacrifice for all of us and we are just returning the favor in a small way."

Mr. Norbert urged any veteran who needed financial assistance to go online at www.saluteheroes.org.

"Help is available," he said.

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