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American Legion Post 298 honors Matthew Uhrin
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · February 16th, 2017

On Monday evening, Feb. 13, Marion's American Legion Post 298 honored Matthew Uhrin, the FexEx employee who rescued a U.S. flag from a group of demonstrators in Iowa City on January 27, 2017. Actually, he rescued two flags.

Uhrin spoke briefly at the meeting and was presented a special award, the Citation for Meritorious Service. In part, the certificate reads:

"The American Legion

Citation for Meritorious Service

that prevented the desecration of

Our National Flag

Matt Uhrin of Marion Post 298

is awarded this citation in

recognition thereof

By Commander James Crowley"

On January 27, Uhrin had finished his FedEx route in Iowa City and was ready to head home. As he drove up the street, he saw a group of demonstrators setting a U.S. flag on fire. It ended up actually being three flags, but he was unable to rescue the third one.

He said he didn't even stop to think about what he was doing; he just felt it was extremely important to save the flags. So he grabbed his fire extinguisher, put the blaze out, was able to grab two of the flags away from the demonstrators, and took them with him.

When he got home, he called his boss to explain what he had done. He continues to hold his FedEx position.

Although many call Uhrin a hero, he doesn't see himself as one. He said the real heroes are the soldiers, the law officers and others who have died in the line of duty. He was surprised when his actions drew national attention.

Since the event, Uhrin has been made an honorary member of the American Legion at the national level and received a Service to America Certificate signed by National Commander Charles E. Schmidt. The State of Iowa Commander was present for the Citation Award Monday evening.

Regarding the woman and man who were charged with "open burning," a misdemeanor in Iowa City, Uhrin heard that their court date was February 10, but he does not know the outcome.

Uhrin's background includes military service, and he was stationed in Afghanistan during part of that time. He was a gunner on a gun sight. He grew up in Cedar Rapids and still lives there.

Uhrin has been asked to speak at a number of events, both local and national, and the requests continue.
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