The men and women of the military, along with their families, have made many sacrifices for our freedom. The Eagle and Prairie Band Casino & Resort are saying thank you to vets, and those currently serving, with our monthly Salute to the Military. Click here and tell us the story of someone you know in the armed forces. Every month we’ll select a story, feature it here and hand over $100 in Prairie Band Cash to them and their family.
This month we’re honoring Sgt. Steve Williams of Topeka. Sgt. Williams was drafted into the Army in 1969, at the age of 18 during the height of the Vietnam War.
While tensions increased stateside, Steve served with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. During his tour he pulled point-man duty and was charged with the incredibly dangerous assignment of ‘tunnel-rat‘. By the time he had served his combat stint and was offered a flight home in 1971, he had been awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and many more awards.
Upon his arrival home, Steve was met by his much younger brother, Paul and his parents. He transitioned into civilian life easily, married Rosie, and graduated college with a law degree, eventually moving onto working for the State of Kansas’ Juvenile Court Services for over 20 years.
Since then he has joined a group that helps vets with PTSD and other issues. Establishing the Topeka Outpost for Point Man International Ministries in 1995 with Gene and Karolyn Roles, Steve and Rosie have helped serve veterans and active military personnel from WWII through Iraqi Freedom that attend an inpatient stress disorder treatment program at the Colmery O’Neil V.A. Medical Center.
But there’s an even more amazing story attached to the triumph that is Steve’s life; He’s restoring a Vietnam Era Willys Jeep by welding it back together after it had been cut into small pieces. The video below is part of an on-going series chronicling Steve’s dream of restoration using the skills taught to him by his father, who worked in California shipyards prior to WW2.
Paul Williams nominated Sgt. Williams for this month’s tribute. He is Steve’s younger brother, the boy who can barely remember when Steve left for Vietnam, and whose first clear memory of Steve was the day he landed on US soil after his tour of duty, when Paul was just 5 years old. Steve has been an inspiration to Paul throughout his life.