Niagara Gazette

November 24, 2013

Vietnam veteran's widow presented with medals on Sunday

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A Next-of-Kin Gold Star Lapel Button was presented to Blanche Lucas of Lockport on Sunday — 45 years after her husband was killed in Vietnam.  A construction mechanic in the United States Navy, Richard M. Sprout was killed in action in Dong Ha, Vietnam in 1968 during an artillery attack on base.  Lucas, who has since remarried, never received the Gold Star Lapel Button at the time of Sprout’s death.   Congressman Chris Collins office secured the Gold Star Lapel Button for Lucas and determined that her late husband was eligible for several medals for his bravery during service.  In addition to her Gold Star Lapel Button, Collins presented Lucas with her late husband’s Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and Combat Action Ribbon.    “Both Blanche Lucas and her late husband failed to receive the acknowledgement they deserved for their service and sacrifice to our great country,” Collins said. “Blanche was never properly recognized for her loss as a war widow and her late husband was not fully honored for giving his life in defense of his country.  Today we pay tribute to them both.”   Along with Sen. George Maziarz and Earl Schmidt of the Niagara County Veterans Service Office, Collins presented the medals to Lucas during a district meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at VFW Post 2535 in Lockport. Lucas is a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of Post 2535.    “The Veterans of Foreign Wars have always said, ‘We honor the fallen by serving the living,’ ” said Schmidt, director of the Niagara County Veterans Service Agency. “The Niagara County Veterans Service Agency and County Clerk Wayne Jagow have made ensuring that our heroes who served get their due, and that their survivors get proper closure."