DANBURY, Conn. -- A veteran of Operation Desert Storm who lives in Danbury will receive the Warrior Award at the 2017 Walk of Honor in Danbury on Sunday.
The Warrior Award will be presented to U.S. Army Specialist Daniel Hayes Jr., who served in Operation Desert Storm and was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Achievement on March 15, 1991.
While maneuvering behind enemy lines, Hayes’s unit faced friendly fire and at the same time learned that there were dismounted enemy infantry all around their position. His orders were to leave their vehicles and prepare foxholes. As his team began to dig in, they realized in 120-degree heat and full Army kit, that they may not make it in time. Hayes, at his own peril, removed all of his own protective gear down to his t-shirt, and began digging foxholes one at a time for each of his colleagues while they covered him with protective fire, digging his own foxhole last.
Hayes continued his heroism after he returned to the states. He rescued a woman from a burning vehicle that was involved in a motor vehicle accident. He remained inside the vehicle with the woman, even though the flames were spreading rapidly and he was eventually able to free her and pull her to safety.
“Every year I’m in complete awe of the men and women who serve our country and their dedication to people they have never met. Mr. Daniel Hayes Jr. is one of those heroes. His story is inspirational,” said Mary Teicholz, event founder and organizer.
The Walk of Honor pays tribute to the country's veterans, both past and present, and will be held Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Danbury War Memorial. It will begin at 12 p.m. with a ceremony, and a one-mile walk will follow.
This year a poetry contest entitled “What is a Veteran” was added to the event. The participants were 4th and 5th graders from King Street Intermediate School with heart-warming results. Medals will be awarded to the top poems in each grade.
All participants are encouraged to join the ceremony and the walk (rain or shine) to show pride in their country's servicemen and women. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony and presentation of the awards will take place inside the Danbury War Memorial.
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