INDICE DE GALERIAS
ROCHESTER, Minn. - November 5 will mark four years since one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. 13 people were killed and 30 more were injured when Army Major Nidal Hassan opened fire on the Fort Hood military base.
While he has been sentenced to death, in our area today, a survivor of the attack is honored for his bravery.
It may just be a retirement party with pizza to most, but for Patrick Ziegler it is so much more.
“I feel really lucky to be here with my family and friends to celebrate this along with all of the veterans and people from the community that have had a more direct impact on my life,” Ziegler said.
That is because he nearly lost that life in the shooting at Fort Hood.
He was one of more than 40 people who were shot that day, but now he is being honored for his service in the U.S. Army.
“It's very special because it shows that I worked my butt off during the eight years that I was active. I went to Iraq twice and lost some good friends and stuff, so it's emotional, but it makes me very, very proud,” Ziegler said.
He is being honored with the Meritorious Service Medal. It is given to those who have earned a reward or honor for something they have done for the United States.
“The Meritorious Service Medal is a relatively high award that designed for peace time or while not involved in a combat situation. We're looking at leadership, attitude, honor, integrity. They don't give this away,” said Col. Erick Kerska of the U.S. Army, who presented Ziegler with the medal.
That is why it is such a big deal for someone like Ziegler, who was able to serve for eight years.
“His leadership was impressed with his bearing, his leadership after his injury while he was recovering. He's still serving as a leader even though he's injured,” Kerska said.
That is why he knows he has done something special.
“Usually that goes to a Master Sergeant who's been in the Army for about 23 years and so it's very odd or out of place or unique, I would say, for someone like me,” Ziegler said.
The award ceremony was held at the Elks Club in Rochester. Ziegler's wife Jessica is a Rochester native and they both now call the city home.
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