DIXFIELD — The Bureau of Maine Veterans Services presented medals and certificates to veterans and their families at a ceremony at the Swasey Torrey American Legion Post 100 Friday afternoon.

Veterans, both living and deceased, were recognized for their service to their country. The ceremony was organized with the aid of state Rep. Sheryl Briggs, D-Mexico, state Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, and Peter Ogdin, director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services. All three attended.

Briggs spoke briefly before the ceremony and read the names of the veterans aloud. She praised Ogdin for his “tireless efforts to fight for the veterans.” She joked that she could “email him at 1 a.m. with a question, wake up at 6 a.m. and already have a response from him.” 

Before presenting the medals to the veterans and their families, Ogdin joked that there were stipulations before veterans could receive their medals and certificates.

“Before you can get the medal, you have to pay the cost. You have to come forward and shake my hand,” he said. “That’s it. You’ve already paid the biggest cost by serving our country and fighting for it.”

Among the presentations were personally engraved Maine Gold Star medals given to the family members of veterans who died in combat and Maine Silver Stars presented to veterans who received a Purple Heart or were former prisoners of war. Honorable service certificates were also presented to several veterans. 

Briggs said the medals were meant to honor veterans of all wars, including World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Cold War and any conflicts the United States was involved in.

Briggs also recognized Mexico Town Manager John E. Madigan with a certificate for his military service she hopes to present to him soon.

After Ogdin presented the medals and certificates, veteran Anthony W. Martin, who received a Honorable Service certificate earlier, was invited to sing the “State of Maine Song.” Martin grinned as he walked to the front and sang, and received a standing ovation.

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