Local Army vet's family presented with honorary pin for his service 14 years after his passing

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Posted at 2:48 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 16:16:02-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- It was a special moment inside the home of Rhonda Knickerbocker and her mother, Barbara Burrows, Monday morning. They and invited guests were commemorating the military service of Sgt. Richard Burrows, Rhonda’s father.

“I was always proud of my dad's man,” Knickerbocker said. “He was a good man.”

The invited guests were from a local hospice care agency that currently tends to Barbara; they're also planning the commemoration. One of the representatives brought a guitar and played American songs such as “This Land is Your Land” and “God Bless America.” A representative from the Navy was also there to present the pin to Barbara.

"Please accept our thanks and gratitude,” the Navy rep. said before placing the pin on Barbara. “When you see this pin, please know that his service to the nation is deeply appreciated. We thank you."

Sgt. Burrows served in the Army from 1949 to 1974, fighting in battles such as the Korean War and the Vietnam War. While he served, Barbara served at home.

"Mom did her time,” Knickerbocker explained. “She raised eight children all the time and 11 children most of the time while he was away in service."

When Sgt. Burrows came home, Rhonda said he worked full time as a master plumber locally in Virginia Beach.

Sgt. Burrows was recognized with nine medals, which are all displayed in a case. Inside the case is also a picture of Sgt. Burrows of when he served.

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The family said there is one medal he earned that was not received: The Purple Heart. Right now, the family is working to make sure that medal gets added to this display case. The Navy representative said they would look into getting the family the Purple Heart.

"They're going to try to get that for us so that we can add it to this case,” Knickerbocker said. "He said - probably until the day he died - ‘If we ever went to war, I would go to protect this country.'"