(ST. JOSEPH. Mo.) Central High School students got a special visit from two true heroes, Medal of Honor recipients.
Retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant Leroy Petry and retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell are two of the only 71 living Medal of Honor recipients still living, and they both visited Central on Thursday.
With the Tribute to Valor Organization, Petry and Littrell usually visit schools in Texas, but the two decided to make a special trip to St. Joseph, to visit students at Central High School after they sent letters to the veterans, thanking them for their service.
Petry earned his Medal of Honor for throwing away a live grenade from his troops. The grenade detonated in his hand, destroying it.
"How lucky I felt today on the stage sitting there and looking at all the students out in the crowd and all the community that came here for this," Petry said.
A few months ago, Central High School Students wrote letters to Medal of Honor recipients or their families. Students had told KQ2 how surprised and honored they were after getting letters back from the recipients and their families.
Annemarie Ausmus wrote Retired US Army Master Sergeant Leroy Petry, and said she was excited that she would be able to meet the hero she researched and wrote to.
"I couldn't control my self, it was a sense of joy finally meeting him, she said. "To meet the person that I wrote to is very special."
In true veteran style, the Medal of Honor recipients wanted to give back to the students even more. Littrell and Petry shared their stories of overcoming challenges while serving America and in life.
"We can't do enough to inspire our young kids and citizens to have courage and fight adversities and make this world a better place," Petry said.