Nationally honored 2-time Purple Heart recipient shares message for fellow veterans

Honoring a veteran’s service

Honoring a veteran's service

He was ambushed multiple times, shot at least twice, still has bullet fragments in his leg, but doesn’t consider himself heroic. Still, a South St. Paul, two-time Purple Heart, veteran is receiving national honors this week.

Glenn Boche is that veteran — he served in the Vietnam War.

“I’m not a hero. I’m a survivor,” Boche said about his service.  

Boche was drafted into the U.S. Army in April 1969, only to be part of multiple attacks within months.

“There was an explosion and I remember [it] throwing me back about 15 feet, and there was gunfire, bullets flying all over the place,” Bache said about one of the ambushes.

Using what he calls ‘second chances’ each day since coming home from war, Boche has made it his mission to support fellow veterans.

“I’m a member of every veterans organization, I worked out at the Minneapolis VA hospital as a volunteer for six years out there, and I was one of the cofounders of the South St. Paul Beyond the Yellow Ribbon,” Bache said.

All that selflessness led him to a nomination from a fellow veteran, and eventually being chosen by the National Purple Heart Honor Mission to be honored in New York City.

Part of what organizers call the Purple Heart Patriot Project Mission, Boche’s trip was paid for and filled with multiple events and tours — including to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, George Washington’s Headquarters, Ground Zero and West Point. He then flew back to a welcome home rally.

“I can’t explain how proud I am to walk with these heroes,” said Col. Russ Vernon, executive director of the National Purple Heart Honor Mission.

Col. Vernon is a 28-year veteran himself.

“I don’t have a purple heart because of guys like [Boche] that always had my back,” Vernon said.

Part of the trip includes having the veterans record their stories on video, helping preserve their stories for generations to come.

“Through people like [Boche], that’s the only way we can tell these stories,” Col. Vernon added.

Boche was nominated for this honor by a fellow veteran who knows him well — he hopes by sharing and being part of the trip will inspire other veterans to share their own stories and talk about their service.

“So many veterans have clammed up after they came home and they won’t talk to anybody. And that’s the way I was for 15 years,” Boche said, adding a metaphor: “It’s like me being in the ring with the bull, the more people I tell about it, the more people that are in that ring with me.”

If you’re a veteran, either in crisis or simply wanting to reach out to talk, resources can be found here.