Congressman Chris Collins

Representing the 27th District of New York

Vision: The United States of America will reclaim its past glory as the Land of Opportunity, restoring the promise of the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.

Congressman Chris Collins Honors Vietnam Veteran & His Widow in Lockport Ceremony

Nov 24, 2013
Press Release
Securing Gold Star Button for widow leads to military medals for Navy veteran killed in action

Congressman Chris Collins with Blanche Lucas

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) honored the loss experienced by a widow of a Vietnam veteran and the service of her late husband this afternoon at a ceremony in Lockport.  Collins’ office secured a Next-of-Kin Gold Star Lapel Button for Blanche Lucas of Lockport approximately 45 years after her husband was killed in Vietnam.  A construction mechanic in the United States Navy, Richard M. Sprout was killed in action in Dong Ha, Vietnam in 1968 during an artillery attack on base.  Lucas, who has since remarried, never received the Gold Star Lapel Button at the time of Sprout’s death.

In the process of securing the Gold Star Lapel Button for Lucas, Collins’ office determined that her late husband was eligible for several medals for his bravery during service.  In addition to her Gold Star Lapel Button, Collins presented Lucas with her late husband’s Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and Combat Action Ribbon. 

“Both Blanche Lucas and her late husband failed to receive the acknowledgement they deserved for their service and sacrifice to our great country,” said Congressman Collins. “Blanche was never properly recognized for her loss as a war widow and her late husband was not fully honored for giving his life in defense of his country.  Today we pay tribute to them both.”

Along with New York State Senator George Maziarz and Earl Schmidt of the Niagara County Veterans Service Office, Collins presented the medals to Lucas during a district meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at VFW Post 2535 in Lockport.  Lucas is a member of the Women’s Auxiliary of Post 2535. 

"It is important that we take time to honor all of those brave men and women, like Richard Sprout, who put their lives on the line for this great nation," said Senator George D. Maziarz.  "I am honored to be here to help present these medals-a symbol of the sacrifice that Richard made.  I am pleased that Blanche can finally receive these medals, which are a true testament of their family's bravery and heroism."

“The Veterans of Foreign Wars have always said, ‘We honor the fallen by serving the living,’” said Earl Schmidt, Director of the Niagara County Veterans Service Agency.  “The Niagara County Veterans Service Agency and County Clerk Wayne Jagow have made ensuring that our heroes who served get their due, and that their survivors get proper closure.  Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Sprout served, and his widow deserved to know all he did for his country.  We’re grateful to Rep. Collins for being a strong advocate on his behalf and ours.” 

If you or a family member needs help securing medals for military service, please contact Congressman Collins’ office at (716) 634-2324 or by visiting his website at