Louisville veteran honored with Citizen Honors medal - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville veteran honored with Citizen Honors medal

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville veteran's efforts to help the nation's heroes struggling with PTSD led to an historic recognition from the Medal of Honor recipients.

It started with walking nearly 8,000 miles across America to raise more than $1 million to help military families.

From there, Iraq war veteran Troy Yocum wanted to do more to help.

"It's all about how many veteran suicides can we stop. How many veterans and their families can we help and support," Yocum said.

That has been his mission for the last few years, and the work didn't stop there.

Through his non-profit Active Heroes, he's been able to repair homes for military families.

It's his work and dedication that has now landed him a big honor.

"The highest citizen's medal the country gives," Yocum said.

Yocum is one of three people this year recognized at the Citizen Honors Ceremony in Washington D.C. 

"The Citizen Honors program recognizes ordinary Americans who have gone above and beyond for their fellow man in some extraordinary way, by risking their life in a single grave situation, or through a lifetime of service to others," the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation wrote on its website.

The three men were recognized as the 2014 recipients of the Citizens Service Before Self award, which is designed to recognize "everyday citizens."

There are less than 20 living recipients of the award.

"In a lot of cases, the Citizens Honors medal is selected for someone who has given their life," said Yocum.

Yocum says it's humbling to be selected for such an award by the men he looked up to growing up.

"The Medal of Honor recipients are just an amazing group. Men that were chosen who basically knew in their hearts that they would give their lives for our country, but somehow were able to come out and live through it," Yocum says.

While he says he will cherish this medal for the rest of his life, Yocum says it will only encourage him to keep working, and through Active Heroes, to help veterans struggling with PTSD.

"So that we can work towards stopping suicide throughout Kentucky and throughout all the other states," says Troy Yocum.

Active Heroes has secured land in Shepherdsville to build a retreat for veterans struggling with PTSD.

Yocum says the project will cost $4 million dollars. They've raised nearly $200,000 so far.

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