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Updated: 12/21/2013 08:00:01AM

Ackerman gets Bronzed

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Douglas R. Ackerman (left) is congratulated by U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, who presented Ackerman with a combat infantryman medal as well as the Bronze Star while serving in Afghanistan.


If not for the effort of Sarah Hardy, said Douglas R. Ackerman, he still might not have received his Bronze Star medal, as well as another medal. Hardy is the Constituent Services caseworker with the Lakeland district office of U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross.


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It took nearly five years, but eventually Douglas R. Ackerman received two medals he earned during his deployment in 2008 in Afghanistan.

Ackerman, of Bartow, served in the Florida Army National Guard and was stationed in Afghanistan as an Embedded Tactical Trainer for the Afghan National Police.

The presentation was made Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the State of Florida Department of Citrus, 605 E. Main St., during a recess of that day’s commission agenda.

Ackerman is the executive director of the commission. Making the presentation was U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, who presented Ackerman the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge.

“One of my greatest honors is to help constituents, like Douglas, receive their medals for their service to our country,” said Ross. “We are so thankful for his willingness to serve and are forever indebted to him for his sacrifice.”

In his acceptance, Ackerman spoke of the effort it took. After a number of years on his own initiative, which produced no results, he turned to Ross’ office. After getting in touch with Sarah Hardy, Constituent Services Casework at the congressman’s Lakeland District Office, she was able to cut through the red tape, said Ackerman, who expressed his appreciation as he asked her to join him as he stood before the gathering.

“It’s amazing getting to the right person,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman earned his Bronze Star, in part, for having served in a combat zone. His unit was tasked with the responsibility of helping local police forces be trained. Their success rate was such that the area in which Ackerman and his unit were stationed was one of the only areas that never was overrun by the Taliban because the local constabulary was highly trained.

About the Bronze Star

The Bronze Star is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Armed Forces, distinguishes himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

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