Congressman Chris Jacobs named Robert Sudbrink of Youngstown as the May 2021 New York 27th Congressional District Veteran of the Month.
“This award honors veterans who give to their country and their community and always strive to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Jacobs said. “Robert showed incredible heroism and bravery throughout his military service. Notably, he saved a child from a burning home in Vietnam, an act that earned him the Soldiers Medal for Valor. He showed exceptional courage and character, and I am honored to name him our Veteran of the Month.”
Sudbrink enlisted in the United States Army in 1968 and completed his basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. He then went to complete airborne infantry training at Fort Gordon, Airborne School at Fort Benning, and special forces training at Fort Bragg. In 1969, he was deployed with the 173rd Airborne Infantry Brigade to the central highlands of Vietnam, where he worked with the South Vietnamese Army. During his time in Vietnam, Sudbrink rescued a small child from a burning home, an act of bravery that later earned him the Soldiers Medal for Valor.
Though he won the award following his service in Vietnam, Sudbrink never had the medal pinned on him. He asked for Jacobs to perform the honor.
“It was truly one the most humbling experiences I have ever had the honor of conducting as an elected official,” Jacobs said. “Robert is a true American hero. Now, after many years, he has officially had his medal pinned on him for a true act of selflessness and bravery.”
Sudbrink met his wife, Bonnie, following his service, and they moved to Alden, where he worked as a mail handler for the U.S. Postal Service. Sudbrink retired in 2002.
The couple has two daughters and two granddaughters.