Veteran Celebrates Legacy Of Classmate, Medal Of Honor Recipient - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

East Lansing Veteran Celebrates Legacy Of Classmate, Medal Of Honor Recipient

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – As dozens of people gathered outside of the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing on Monday afternoon to honor a local Medal of Honor recipient who gave his life in the line of duty, a former classmate reflected on their time together in grade school more than 70 years ago.

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"[He was] the kind you want to hang around with, and you're proud to be a friend of," says George Masters.

George Masters says he met Sherrod Skinner Jr. around the seventh grade, and although Skinner moved away before graduating high school, they both followed similar paths in the military.

"I went to Michigan State and took ROTC and also became an artillery officer, as Rod was, and went to Korea like he did," says Masters, who fought during the last seven months of the Korean War. "I was much more fortunate than Rod. I wasn't in such a harrowing situation as he was."

On October 26, 1952, Marine Corps Reserve Second Lt. Sherrod Skinner Jr. was killed when he jumped on an enemy grenade so others could live. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his act of courage, becoming only one of two in the tri-county area to receive the honor.

"To be only the second one in the area…it's a very significant event," says Masters.

The City of East Lansing and the East Lansing Rotary Club paid tribute to Skinner's sacrifice by raising funds to erect a memorial in Skinner's memory, and on Monday, the East Lansing community celebrated Skinner's legacy at a special dedication ceremony.

"This is a long overdue tribute for [Skinner] and his family for what he has sacrificed for all of us," says East Lansing Mayor Diane Goddeeris.

The memorial stands outside of the Hannah Community Center, formerly East Lansing Junior High, which Skinner attended.

Donations for the memorial are still being sought. If you would like to contribute, please make your checks payable to:

Rotary Club of East Lansing
c/o Department of Parks, Recreation & Arts
410 Abbot Road
East Lansing, MI 48823

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or email her at emorrow@wlns.com.

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