The Lexington Medical Center Foundation hosted a dinner and talk this week with three of the 78 living Medal of Honor recipients in our nation. Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, Maj. Gen. James Livingston and Lt. Michael Thornton – who have each called South Carolina home – attended and addressed the audience of more than 800 people.
Created in 1861, the Congressional Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat. The President, in the name of Congress, presents it to the nation’s bravest men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces.
Livingston and Thornton are both Vietnam War veterans. Livingston was wounded three times as he continued to lead his fellow Marines out of battle and refused to be evacuated until all others were safe. A S.C. native who now lives in Texas, Thornton acted courageously to remove two seriously wounded senior naval officers during battle and towed them seaward for approximately two hours until a support craft rescued them. Carpenter, a current student at the University of South Carolina from Gilbert, S.C., suffered devastating injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, the loss of his right eye, a broken nose and 30 fractures to his right arm, when he jumped on a grenade to shield a fellow Marine from a deadly blast in Afghanistan in 2010.
During An Evening of Honor, the men reflected on their time in the service and those who fought alongside them. They also encouraged guests to honor veterans and active duty military personnel, and to treat each day as a gift.
Congressional Medal of Honor recipients Kyle Carpenter, Michael Thornton and James Livingston will be special guests and speakers at “An Evening of Honor” hosted by the Lexington Medical Center Foundation at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. The dinner and program will honor these three extraordinary men who have called South Carolina home for their extraordinary patriotism and courage in valor. The event, held during the anniversary week of the September 11th terrorist attacks, will also feature tributes to first responders and military service members.
Created in 1861, the Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat that can be given to a person serving in the Armed Services of the United States. The President of the United States presents the recipient with the award in the name of Congress.
Cpl. Kyle Carpenter of Lexington County was serving in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2010 when insurgents threw a hand grenade at him and a fellow Marine. Jumping on the grenade to shield his friend, Carpenter suffered devastating injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, the loss of his right eye, a broken nose, severe lacerations to his face, critical injury to the carotid artery on the right side of his neck, and 30 fractures to his right arm. He actually died three times on the MedEvac and was considered “expired” when he arrived at the hospital in Afghanistan. He spent the next two and a half years in a hospital, requiring nearly 40 surgeries. President Barack Obama presented Carpenter with the Medal of Honor in June of this year. Carpenter, now age 24, is currently a student at the University of South Carolina.Maj. Gen. James Livingston served with the United States Marine Corps during Vietnam. As a Commanding Officer in 1968, he led his Marines and directed combat operations through fierce battle – forcing the enemy to retreat. He was wounded three times during the firefight, but continued to lead his command and supervise the evacuation of casualties. Only after the safety of all his men was assured did he allow himself to be evacuated. Today, Livingston lives in Charleston. South Carolina native Lt. Michael Thornton served as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. In 1972, Thornton acted courageously to remove his seriously wounded senior naval officer from the middle of the fighting, inflated his life jacket and towed him seaward for approximately two hours until support craft picked them up. Thornton saved the life of his superior officer and enabled the safe exit of all patrol members. Today, Thornton resides in Texas.
“An Evening of Honor” will take place on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Lincoln Street in downtown Columbia. Tickets are $75 each. There will be a Founders and Sponsor Reception at 6:00 p.m. Dinner and the program begin at 7:00 p.m. Sponsorships are available, including the opportunity to honor our heroes by sponsoring a table for local military members and first responders. For tickets and sponsorships, visit LexMed.com or call the Lexington Medical Center Foundation at (803) 791-2540. Proceeds benefit the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.
Guests are asked to dress for the event in patriotic colors.