After nearly three years of campaigning by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and 23 years of service with the National Guard -- William Ringhofer finally got his Bronze Star.
The retired National guardsman and Tinley Park police officer received Commendation Medal by the Army from Sen. Kirk during a ceremony on Saturday, Southtown-Star’s Donna Vickroy reports.
Sgt. 1st Class Willam R. Righofer bid goodbye to the Illinois National Guard’s Company C, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Reginment, 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2012.
During his 23-year career with the National Guard, Ringhofer completed numerous training deployments to countries such as Poland, Iceland, Southwest Asia, Germany and Panama, reported RealMedia Newswire on Ringhofer’s retirement:
“He served as a platoon sergeant, leading 41 Soldiers on a combat deployment to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Additionally, he retires having earned numerous medals, including a Distinguish Service Medal, four Army Achievement Medals, among other military awards and decorations.”
Ringhofer said on his retirement that going to Afghanistan was one of his most lasting memories of being in the National Guard.
"It was the culminating point of all my years of training leading up to that deployment," he said.
Sen. Kirk did the pinning hours on the father of five, who believed that Ringhofer deserved an upgrade from the Commendation Medal he received by the Army upon his retirement, Southtown-Star said.
Kirk also quoted Winston Churchill at the ceremony: “Any time we have a reservist who gets an award of this kind — that shows they’re twice the citizen.”
Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki was also on hand to thank the former National Guardsman.
Ringhofer is a 17-year member of the Tinley Park Police Department. He, his wife, Holly, and their five children live in Tinley Park.