Iowa veteran added to "In Memory Honor Roll" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa veteran added to "In Memory Honor Roll"

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -

A handful of Iowa veterans, who are not eligible to have their names etched into the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C., will be honored in a different way. 

Six veterans in Iowa are being added to the "In Memory Honor Roll". The program honors fallen Vietnam veterans who are not eligible to be added to The Wall under Department of Defense guidelines.

Among the six Iowans being added to the list is Ronald Bruce Brown from Independence. His wife Sandra says this honor means a lot to her family.

Sandra and Ronald were married for 29 years and Sandra has spent the last 29 years without her husband after doctors found a tumor in his chest.

"What happened was it grew so rapidly in search of a new blood supply that it just burst like a puff mushroom and it just sent cancer cells all over his body," said Sandra Brown, Independence.

Sandra says her husband's illness came from agent orange, a herbicide used during the Vietnam War, something doctors knew would kill him. Sandra remembers what doctors told her and her husband years ago: "Mr. Brown go home and enjoy each day you get to wake up...from here on out there's nothing more we can do."

Sandra and her children now remember Ronald through old photos he sent the family while he was at war.

"He was just a great all around person...you just couldn't have asked for a nicer guy," said Sandra. "He's still very much alive in the hearts of the people in this town."

Though Ronald did not die during combat or directly from a war injury, what happened while he was fighting ultimately took his life. Now he will be honored for his service.

"His name doesn't belong on the wall, the names on the wall are those guys that gave their lives over there, but by the same token there were a lot of them that were hurt in other ways and their death was caused by that," said Sandra.

Ronald spent 21 years in the Army serving four tours in Korea and three in Vietnam. After the war, Ronald worked as a police officer in Independence. Sandra says her husband worked up until the day he died.

More than 400 Vietnam veterans, including the six from Iowa will be inducted into the "In Memory Honor Roll" on June 17 in Washington D.C.

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