The Kansas Statehouse - Topeka, KS
TriWest’s Medal of Honor photography exhibit, Visions of Valor continued its tour across the country and visited the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka on December 11, 2006.
On the second floor rotunda, which was adorned with festive holiday décor, the Choraliers of Shawnee Heights High School entertained attendees as they arrived with holiday carols and a beautiful rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow.
Junior ROTC cadets from Topeka High School performed the presentation of colors and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. After a welcome message from former Michael Mattox, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the ceremony was then opened to the Master of Ceremonies, the Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, John E. Moore, who participated in the event just weeks prior to his retirement. Moore introduced the two Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, Fred Ferguso and Kansas resident Don Ballard.
— T. Heinrich
The exhibit, presented by Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius and co-presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, was the second Visions of Valor display at a state capitol. The exhibit had been on display at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem for November 2006.
Ballard, a Navy medic and resident of Leavenworth, KS, received his Medal for action in Quang Tri Provence, Vietnam. Accompanying Company M, HC2c. Ballard ran across fire-swept terrain to attend to a wounded Marine, when an enemy soldier threw a grenade and proceeded to fire at them. Ballard directed four Marines to assist the wounded soldier and threw himself upon the grenade, which did not explode. He then resumed his duty to his comrades.
Ferguson, Chief Warrant Officer for the Army, also received his Medal for action in Vietnam. CWO Ferguson piloted a helicopter during a rescue mission of a downed helicopter in Hue City. Against warnings of heavy fire, CWO Ferguson successfully evacuated wounded soldiers from the downed helicopter amidst enemy fire.
The ceremony concluded with TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre, Jr., who expressed gratitude to the Medal of Honor recipients and all who serve our country in the armed services.
The exhibit remained on display from December 11 - 28, 2006.