D211 Post: Medal of Honor Recipient Speaks to SHS Students
Students at Schaumburg High School concluded a week of recognizing U.S. military veterans with a presentation by Medal of Honor recipient Allen J. Lynch who was introduced by fellow Viet Nam veteran and retired Cook County Judge John Tourtelot.
Lynch opened the presentation by telling the students about his childhood. He spoke of being bullied through most of his early education and how it affected him. Lynch said that he hoped discussion of being bullied would serve two purposes.
“If you’re a kid that is being bullied, this is only one chapter. It’s not your life,” he said. “If you are a bully, this may be the last thing you do. Most bullies end up not doing well.”
Lynch further discussed with the students that due to a bad self-image, he chose to enlist in the Army in 1964. He told the students that he felt he had to prove himself to himself. He shared with the students some of his experiences in Viet Nam including what compelled him to commit the actions which would ultimately lead to him being awarded the Medal of Honor.
He concluded with talking about his difficulties in returning to life once he returned. He told students that the greatest help he found was helping others.
Senior Jeremy Komperda found the presentation resonated with him on a personal level.
“This presentation was incredibly inspiring to see how far you can go and what you can make of yourself,” said Komperda, who is enlisting in the Illinois National Guard later this month. “I used to be heavier as a child and was bullied quite a bit back then. His talking about overcoming things like this and making something of yourself really spoke to me.”
Lynch said he enjoyed talking to the students of Schaumburg.
“I love addressing students,” he said. “I love the questions they ask and the interactions we have. These students have been great.”