ST. CLOUD -- Local vets were honored for their service to our nation, and the local community during the annual Veterans of the Year ceremony by HomeFront Resource Center.

The event was held Wednesday evening at the Tuscan Center. It is tailored to honor student-veterans and veterans from the greater central Minnesota area. This year's student-veteran awardee was Adric Waibel. He works with helping returning vets in education get situated, from finding friends to keeping up with school work.

Waibel, a former member of the 151st Field Artillery out of Morris says he's humbled and the award was actually a surprise for him.

"Incredibly humbling, it was actually quite a surprise. I wasn't told about even being nominated until just a short while ago."

He spent a lot of his career at Fort Hood Texas, Fort Guernsey in Wyoming and Fort Chaffee in Arkansas. For anyone thinking of joining, Waibel says it's a decision that will change your life, and become a huge part of your identity.

The winner of the "Veteran of the Year" award was Steve Hennes. Hennes grew up in Little Falls and joined the Air Force right after high school. He's a Vietnam War vet and says one of the highlights of his career was bringing Vietnam veterans together with the Vietnamese community in the area.

"That was one of the highlights of my career. It was a very difficult thing to do, but there was a number of my Vietnamese friends here tonight that I've gotten to know, and the Vietnam memorial at Lake George came about because of that."

Hennes says the military, including his year in Vietnam, was one of the best experiences of his life. He says "go for it" to anyone considering joining.

Previous awardees include Larry Tillermans, a clerk typist during the Nuremberg War Trials, Bob Nicol, a veteran of both Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Earl Potter, former St. Cloud State University President was a past awardee as well.

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