SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - November is Veterans Awareness Month. The Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Sioux Falls is celebrating with a special party Wednesday.
One member of the staff received a high military honor for his heroic efforts overseas. We were there as his colleagues honored one of their own.
Jonathan Tilk was injured in combat on December 31, 2009 while serving in Iraq for the U.S. Army.
Now, nearly nine years later, he was recognized for that sacrifice. This celebration with family, friends and coworkers has been a long time coming.
"It was a lot of gathering evidence and getting statements from soldiers I deployed with, as well as the medical evidence I had," said Jonathan Tilk, Purple Heart Recipient.
Tilk says like most military life, the process to get his Purple Heart was a lot of hurry up and wait.
"Occasionally I received a letter. At some points I would forget about it, and put it in the back of my mind. But when I received the letter it brought a lot of joy. It brought a lot of tears. Brought back a lot of memories," said Tilk.
On Wednesday, Tilk and other veterans working at the VA Regional Offices are enjoying some extra attention for their service.
"It's really important that we celebrate them everyday, not just during Veterans' Month. But recognize the huge contributions and sacrifices that they have made for our freedoms here in the United States of America," said Shawn Bohn, Regional Veteran's Affairs Office Director.
For veterans like Tilk, this is a great way to march forward.
"It's a big sense of relief. It's not that I'm closing a chapter, but I'm able to move on knowing I was given the recognition and honor from serving in Iraq and being injured in combat," said Tilk.