On Nov. 30, The Adjutant General of Wisconsin, Major General Donald Dunbar, decorated DeForest veteran Jeffrey Unger with the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs Meritorious Service Medal in front of Vice Chief, National Guard Bureau, Lieutenant General, Joseph Lengyel, and the entire senior leadership of the Wisconsin National Guard.
The event was hosted at Volk Field.
Considered as Wisconsin’s second highest decoration under the Distinguished Service Medal, it is awarded to private citizens, Military Affairs employees or Wisconsin National Guard service members for meritorious service and achievements that contribute significantly to the accomplishment of the mission of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and the Wisconsin National Guard.
Before formally decorating Unger, Dunbar told the crowd: “What is amazing about this man is not only did he serve his nation in uniform for 21 years in the Air Force accomplishing incredible things, what he is doing for our Wisconsin veteran’s community today and the passion he brings is absolutely extraordinary.”
From the official citation, emcee Michael Hinman read: “For distinguished and meritorious service to the Wisconsin veteran and military communities. Since December 2005, your efforts have resulted in numerous, significant changes to veteran’s legislation, programs and benefits impacting the Wisconsin National Guard. Your ability to identify areas for improvement and to build cohesive teams to effectively mitigate gaps in resources has built a legacy for the future. Your achievements reflect your dedication and unwavering commitment to all Wisconsin military service members, veterans, and their families.”
Dedication to country
After the ceremony, Unger said: “There is no more noble decision than that of deciding to raise your right hand and defend your country. When I retired after 21.5 years of active military service, I made a promise to my fellow airmen that I may be hanging the uniform in a closet, but I wasn’t going to let those smartly sewn stripes collect dust. I would find a way to continue to serve our nation’s veterans and their families, to make certain it was left better than what I found it. In 2005, General Dunbar’s predecessor opened the door and extended an opportunity.
The ceremony simply reinforces what I hope everyone already knows well, and that is the value of the Transition Assistance Advisor to the reserve component service member, veteran and family. I am deeply grateful to The Adjutant General for considering me worthy of this prestigious meritorious service medal.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to join such an extraordinary group of sentinels as a recipient. On a personal note, I’m especially pleased that the decoration recognizes my service to our nation’s heroes, her veterans. This is a wonderful honor, and there is something very special about it. It not only is bestowed by peers but it also is presented by an organization whose values I deeply cherish.
Thank you for this incredible honor.”
Unger, a VA service connected disabled veteran serves as the state of Wisconsin’s Transition Assistance Advisor (a federal contractor) assisting National Guard service members and Wisconsin veterans and families gain access to veteran’s benefits, programs and services through partnerships with County Veteran Service Officers, the VA, veterans service organizations, federal and state agencies, as well as public and private entities such as local resources and non-profit organizations.