Wisconsin Guard Soldier receives award at Lambeau Field
On a field where larger-than-life legends battled for glory, a Wisconsin National Guard hero was remembered and a Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldier was honored Nov. 4 for service both to the military and the community.
In front of more than 70,000 fans at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., Sgt. 1st Class Don Grundy of Waterford, Wis. - the Wisconsin National Guard's suicide prevention coordinator and a Guard member for nearly 21 years - became the second recipient of the Thomas E. Wortham IV Achievement Award during a halftime ceremony at the 50-yard line. Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, commander of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, presented the award, flanked by Wortham's parents and fiancée.
"It's an honor, obviously," Grundy said. "It feels good to be able to pay some things back. A lot of soldiers stood beside me and Lillian and the kids when we needed it-- it's kind of why we keep doing what we're doing, to pay that back."
Grundy stepped in four years ago to keep the United Services Organization (USO) of Wisconsin from closing its doors. Elected the chapter's president in 2010, he was instrumental in opening a USO center at Gen. Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee in the fall of 2011. He has also raised more than $140,000 to assist service members and their families.
Following the tragic loss of his son Ricky in 2005, Grundy became involved with the "Compassionate Friends" organization which helps bereaved parents as they grieve the death of a child. He is an assistant coach with the Waterford High School trap shooting team and is involved with coaching youth football. He also raised several thousand dollars to defray medical costs for a cancer patient.
The award is named for 1st Lt. Thomas E. Wortham IV, a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Troop A, 105th Cavalry as well as a member of the Chicago Police Department. He was murdered outside of his parents' Chicago home May 19, 2010 when four men attempted to steal his motorcycle. The Bronze Star recipient and veteran of two Iraq deployments, as well as a tour of duty performing airport security as part of Operation Noble Eagle, joined the Chicago Police Department in 2007.