Remembering Spc. Sterling Wyatt

From Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler

As your Representative in Congress, I wanted to give you an update on a bill that has personal meaning to so many in our area. The bill, HR.4960, renames the Columbia Post Office Building at 511 East Walnut Street in honor of Columbia native, Specialist Sterling William Wyatt, who lost his life in 2011 fighting for his country in Afghanistan. On July 16, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed my bill and it is now pending action in the Senate. I am honored to advance this bill on Sterling’s behalf.

Last fall, Cathy Rupard of Midwest Mailing Service in Columbia contacted me to recommend that the downtown Columbia Post Office be dedicated in memory of Spc. Wyatt. Her letter was accompanied by a separate letter of support from Tim Rich of Welcome Home, which provides transitional and emergency housing and other support services for homeless veterans. Upon receiving these letters from my constituents, I met with Spc. Wyatt’s parents, Randy and Sherry, to discuss this effort to memorialize their son’s memory. I had the privilege of getting to know Sterling through them by hearing firsthand accounts of Sterling’s life, service and sacrifice.

Born and raised in Columbia, Spc. Wyatt was an active participant in his youth group and church. He was an amazing young man: earning the rank of Eagle Scout, a first-degree black belt in taekwondo, and certification as a Nurse Attendant all before graduating from Rock Bridge High School in 2009.

Soon after graduating, he joined the U.S. Army, was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington and was later deployed abroad to serve his country. Tragically, at only 21-years old, Spc. Wyatt was killed on July 11, 2012 while on patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan. His vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device (IED).

Spc. Wyatt’s awards and decorations include the Medal of Valor, Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Ribbon, NATO Medal, Certificate of Achievement, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

I am deeply moved and humbled by Sterling’s willingness to serve his country and, sadly, pay the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms we cherish. We are forever indebted to Sterling and his family for all they have given for our nation. It is my hope that by naming the downtown Columbia Post Office in his memory we will forever honor his life of selfless service and inspire future generations to serve others. Everyone who passes by and enters its doors will see this brave soldier’s name and be reminded that freedom is not free.

I am hopeful the Senate will act expeditiously on this important bill and it will soon become law. As it moves forward, I will make sure to keep you updated on its progress. Thank you for your interest and your support of the Wyatt family.