Racine County Eye 2021 Local News Fund

RACINE, WI — Retired United States Navy Commander Richard “Dick” Vallin has been named as Wisconsin’s First Congressional District’s Veteran of the Year. Vallin was honored by U.S Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) this week.

“I am honored to be named Southeast Wisconsin’s Veteran of the Year. Thank you to Rep. Steil for recognizing the service of veterans and being a champion for our veteran community. As a 24-year Navy veteran and someone who works with fellow veterans, it is great to see those who represent us in Congress share this same commitment,” Vallin said.

Vallin served in the United States Navy for 24 years, beginning in 1960. He completed three combat tours in Vietnam and retired with the rank of Commander in 1984.

Vallin now serves our Southeast Wisconsin community in a variety of ways. He previously served as the Director of the Racine County Harbor/Marina project, chaired festivals for Racine St. Catherine’s High School, and is the current chairman of the Roma Lodge Veterans Day celebration.

Vallin served on the Milwaukee County War Memorial Board for two decades. He was also appointed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense to serve as the Wisconsin State Chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for three years.

“Thank you to everyone who nominated a veteran for this award. There are many who have dedicated their lives to protecting our nation and helping our community. Today, I am proud to recognize Dick for his service to our country, to his fellow veterans, and to Southeast Wisconsin. Dick is a true patriot. After serving 24 years in the Navy, including three combat tours in Vietnam, Dick uses his knowledge to assist our Racine community. I am grateful for Dick’s sacrifice and efforts to support veterans,” said Steil in a statement Thursday.

In addition to the Veteran of the Year Award, Steil awarded Congressional Recognitions of Service to Bob Engstrom of Janesville and Brad Behling of Kenosha.

Sergeant (Ret.) Engstrom served in the United States Army for two years and is currently the Secretary of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter, educating area high school and college students about the history and impact of the Vietnam War.

Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) Behling served in the United States Air Force for 25 years and assists fellow veterans and dependents of veterans as a Veterans Support Services Manager at UW-Parkside.

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