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Local VFW post honors late veteran

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A man who invested time into a local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post for many years, and was also passionate about his fellow veterans, was honored on Wednesday.

Larry Nowak passed away in December and on Wednesday, VFW post 5263 in Lawton honored him by renaming their canteen "The Larry Nowak Lounge."

Friends and VFW members got his family there so the VFW could surprise them by honoring Larry at the unveiling ceremony. 

Applause and tears filled the room as his family and friends saw their husband, father and friend honored. 

After the renaming ceremony, a few friends spoke about him saying that he was a great guy that everybody loved that would help whenever asked.

He became a Marine in 1965 and right after he joined, he went to Vietnam at the age of 17.

“He's just my ultimate hero," his son john said.

After serving for 26 years, Larry retired and settled down here in Lawton and that's when he started getting involved at the VFW, which became his second home.

"He loved coming down here. He loved volunteering and helping the place out where he could. After he retired it gave him somewhere to go,” John said. “A lot of people here can relate to the things he's been through."

While he was in Vietnam, he was exposed to Agent Orange and he recently passed away from its complications. 

VFW Post 5263 Commander, Jim Meeks said the post decided to honor him because of how much he cared about it and the veterans. 

"Larry was one of the few that stuck around when I first took command,” Meeks said. “One of the younger members coming in to take command of the post and he stuck around to mentor me, remind me of the old ways and don't forget the veterans that came before us." 

John said the VFW honoring his dad was overwhelming and he knows that his dad would've felt the same way.

"I've only seen him cry twice in his life and this might have been his third. He would've loved it," John said.

The family wants to give heartfelt thanks to the VFW for honoring him. They plan on coming back to the lounge for years to come.

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