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Pay tribute to the Heroes Among Us

March 12, 2017
Reinbeck Courier

WATERLOO The 12th annual Heroes Among Us Breakfast Awards Ceremony will be held Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo. A limited number of seats are available for this significant event in the Cedar Valley.

During this ceremony, individuals who performed amazing deeds during 2016 will be recognized for their courage to step up and help, separating themselves from others who may have stood back and watched or looked to these leaders for guidance. Eastern Iowans have an opportunity to meet and thank these heroes who have truly made a difference in our communities.

2016 Environmental Hero Riley Henry of Waterloo

2016 Good Samaritan Youth Hero Emil Mrzljak of Waterloo

2016 Good Samaritan Youth Hero Ben Willson of Shell Rock

2016 Health Care Hero Heather Al-Hammadi of Waterloo

2016 Military Heroes Tom Brickman of Janesville and Shari Kirkpatrick of Reinbeck

2016 Public Safety Heroes Cpt. Don Eggleston and Ofc. Ryan Wegner of Waverly

2016 Work Place Hero Cody Lafler of Waverly

Doors open for the Heroes Among Us Breakfast Awards at 7:00 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 7:30 a.m. This event honors our local heroes, but is also a fundraiser for the Covenant Foundation and Sartori Health Care Foundation. Proceeds will directly benefit emergency services at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-Iowa. To support our community members and the foundations, reserve your spot by calling 319-272-7676. You can also go online to purchase your ticket at

Thomas Brickman and Shari Kirkpatrick

Military Heroes

The 2016 Heroes Among Us Military recipients are Tom Brickman of Janesville and his daughter Shari Kirkpatrick of Reinbeck. The "Faces to Go with Names" has become a permanent exhibit at the Sullivan museum. Tom, a Vietnam veteran, and Shari secured photos of nearly all the Iowans killed in Vietnam. They initially compiled a list of names for the national Vietnam memorial history center and made them available to the Grout, which has become a permanent exhibit.

Three years ago Tom and Shari set out on a mission to locate 522 photos of fallen soldiers from the Vietnam War. When the project started, they never envisioned the healing impact of their hours of research and dedication.

Tom and Shari were initially asked to identify soldiers from Black Hawk, Bremer, Grundy and Tama Counties. Shari told her dad, "How can we stop there if they don't live in these counties?" It was then they decided to take on the whole state, determined to find all 550 photos.

Through libraries, high schools, veteran sites, the media and social media they reached out to every Iowa county to acquire photos. Every time they located a photo, it was like receiving a Christmas present. They had two interactions with family members that really stood out. The first one was talking to a daughter, she shared it was 43 years to the day that the Army informed her mom that her dad was killed. Shari apologized for the bad timing, but the daughter stated it was perfect timing, knowing her dad hasn't been forgotten. Another gentleman initially responded, but took several months to get back to them. The day he left the military, all his gear was placed in his parent's attic. He hadn't looked at the items since and said thank you for being his motivation to start my healing process.



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