Waterloo soldier receives Bronze Medal - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo soldier receives Bronze Medal

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Army medic Sgt. Ian Ralston is receiving some of the nation's top honors for his service in Iraq.  Monday he was presented with the Bronze Star, and re-awarded the Purple Heart in a ceremony in Minneapolis.  The Bronze Star is the fourth highest honor given by the U.S. Military.

Ralston is recovering slowly from spinal cord injuries after an IED exploded under the armored vehicle he was riding in on May 29th.  He is currently a quadriplegic, and uses a motorized wheelchair to move around.  Wednesday, Ralston made a huge accomplishment -- he took a breath on his own, without any help from machines.

Ralston's parents, Sue and Steve, are splitting their time between the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Minneapolis, and their home in Waterloo.  Steve is still working at his job in Iowa, while Sue only returns home once every few weeks.

The award ceremony Monday was a highlight during an exceptionally difficult time for the family.  As Sue put it -- for her, it is still May 29th.  Steve, an Army sergeant himself, said it was touching to see Ian's fellow soldiers presenting the Bronze Star.

"More, I thank thank anything through this that has brought me to tears is the love between soldiers. That is transcendent. And it's a beautiful thing to see, and Ian felt that," said Steve Ralston.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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