By MAX FILBY
U.S. Army veteran James Goshe received something Tuesday he had waited nine years for.
Goshe, a sergeant and Iraq war veteran who was discharged in 2005, has been waiting to receive 12 medals and ribbons honoring his time in the military.
Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown presented the Findlay resident with the medals and ribbons during a small ceremony at the Hancock County Veterans Service Office.
“It’s like closing the final chapter,” Goshe said. “It’s an honor.”
His medals included the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Marksman Badge with Rifle and Grenade Clasps, and Army Lapel Button.
Goshe said he was anxious to receive the medals Tuesday and was excited about the opportunity to meet Sen. Brown.
Brown said he wanted to personally recognize Goshe because of his “outstanding” number of accomplishments during his Army service.
Goshe said he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after his Army service. He said it took him years to inquire about the medals, because the war just wasn’t something he wanted to talk about.
Goshe said he lost a close friend to a roadside bomb while in Iraq.
“When you’re over there, you aren’t thinking about the medals. It’s about survival,” he said.
“A part of me is still over there.”
Eventually, though, Goshe said he started “thinking about those medals.”
Goshe first reached out to Nichole Coleman, executive director of the Hancock County Veterans Service Office, who then contacted Brown’s office to get the process started.
Veterans frequently face problems and delays in receiving medals or ribbons for their service in the military.
“It’s something that’s all too common,” Brown said.
Lost records and other documentation mishaps are typically the reason for delays and confusion when it comes to recognizing men and women in the armed forces, Brown said.
Brown cited a Veterans Affairs depository that caught fire after World War II. Many records were lost, creating confusion about who needed to be honored.
Separately, Goshe and Brown both commented about the Veterans Affairs health care debacle.
VA hospitals began receiving national attention earlier this year when some hospitals were discovered to be covering up long waiting times for patients. Some veterans were even reported to have died while waiting for appointments.
“Waiting periods can be long and it can definitely be frustrating dealing with the VA,” Goshe said.
While Goshe complained about trouble with VA health care, he did praise the organization for all that it does for veterans.
Brown, who sits on the U.S. Senate committee for Veterans Affairs, said he was pleased with a recent bill passed by Congress to reform the organization. In late July, the Senate also confirmed Robert McDonald, former chief executive of Procter & Gamble, as the new head of the VA.
“Any progress is great,” Brown said. “I think our new law with our new VA secretary, who’s from Ohio, will make some great changes.”