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Higgins presents military service medals to Cpl. Gary Jeter

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Mon, May 9th 2016 03:55 pm

Buffalo veteran served during Korean War

Congressman Brian Higgins recognized the service of U.S. Army Cpl. Gary Jeter with a special presentation of military medals earned during the Korean War.

"Cpl. Jeter served bravely during a difficult time and we are honored to have the opportunity to recognize him for his selfless commitment to this nation," Higgins said.

Born July 27, 1931, in Greenville, South Carolina, Gary Ernest Jeter was the oldest of 10 children. He began his service in the Army on Oct. 10, 1950, at the young age of 19. Private Jeter was assigned to the 505th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion and quickly rose through the ranks earning the title corporal.

The military medals earned by Jeter tell the story of his brave service to the U.S.:

•The Combat Infantryman Badge is awarded to personnel with an infantry or special forces occupational specialty who engaged in active ground combat.

•The Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars is awarded for participation in the Korean War, with two bronze stars representing the two military campaigns in which he served.

•National Defense Service Medal represents Jeter's honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces during the Korean War.

•United Nations Service Medal is an international military decoration, established by the United Nations, recognizing the multinational defense forces who participated in the Korean War.

On July 27, 1953, Jeter celebrated his 22nd birthday; the same day marked the end of the Korean War. Jeter's military service ended a few months later, exactly three years after it began, with an honorable discharge Oct. 10, 1953.

After his military service, Jeter worked for 20 years as a civil servant at the New York housing authority. He later moved to Buffalo and worked as a maintenance engineer at Kensington High School. It was there that he met the love of his life, Mary Katherine Clowers. They were married in 1989 and remained partners and parents to Clowers' four children for 27 years, until his wife's passing in March.

Jeter's stepdaughter, Robin Clowers, set out to give the 85 year-old veteran the medals he earned decades ago. Higgins' office worked to expedite the family's request following a call from Jeter's sister, Sandara Baines. On Friday, at a ceremony in front of the Korean War monument at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park, Higgins and members of the U.S. Army Color Guard presented Jeter with his medals.

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