Veterans in Great Falls came together Saturday to celebrate one of their own, as they installed a new engraving in his name.

The Marine Corps League and the Montana Veterans Memorial Association held a ceremony to engrave the Medal Of Honor for Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, who died in 2007.

MVMA President Michael Winters and Lieutenant Corporal Richard Liebert gave their remarks, before MCL members built a temporary memorial in Atkins' memory, saluting him for his service.

Atkins was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom as he used his body to cover a blast from a suicide bomber. His actions saved the lives of three American soldiers.

"It was a very courageous thing for him to do. It's a thing that all people who sign the bottom line that they would do,” said Winters. “It certainly wasn't something he wanted to do or wished to do, but he certainly saved the lives of his troopers, and God's with him."

The ceremony comes about a week after President Donald Trump presented the award posthumously on March 27. Atkins' son was in attendance, and accepted the award on behalf of his father.

Atkins was born in Great Falls in 1975 before he moved to Bozeman with his parents six years later, where he grew up loving to hunt, fish and camp.

When he wasn't enlisted, Atkins did contract concrete and painting.


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