Friday, Jun. 15, 2012
More than a handshake
Former Marine receives Purple Heart
A handshake was all that Cpl. Shane Evans, 25, wanted for his service in Afghanistan.
Instead, the former combat engineer was awarded a Purple Heart, one of the nation’s highest military honors, Monday afternoon at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in northwest Cass County.
Friends and family, along with the Marines Corps, gathered for a ceremony to honor Evans, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after hitting an improvised explosive device to his head on August 26, 2010.
Evans was on his second tour of duty, deployed with the Combat Logistics’ Battalion 2 to Sangin, Afghanistan.
“It’s one of those things you don’t want to get,” Evans said. “But after walking away from something like this, it’s an honor. It was nice having everyone out here...Marines doing a big ceremony and having all my family out here with me,” Evans said. “Family is there 24/7. They are the ones you’ve got. They like to be everywhere I am, especially on a day like today. It is nice to have your family here.”
Evans joined the Marines in 2007. He was inspired by friends and his grandfather, Sgt. Charles Foley, Great Bend, Kan., to enlist.
Foley is also a Purple Heart recipient for his service with the Marines during the Korean war.
He received his honor in 1953. Almost 60 years later after his medal was delivered in the mail, he was at a ceremony honoring his grandson in receiving the same.
“It’s one of them that you ain’t supposed to get,” Foley said. “But we’re very proud of him.”
Foley, who was with the 1st Marine Division, was involved in an attack where two of the four men in his crew were killed.
“Two generations receiving the same thing, it means a lot that he is here,” Evans said. “Years apart, but we are both here on the same day.”
Mary Foley, Great Bend, Kan., who is Evans’ aunt and daughter of Sgt. Foley, said she is proud of her nephew and glad he is back home.
“It makes me very proud,” she said of the honor. “It’s a tradition I wished that wouldn’t have been passed down, but glad it was, because I know it meant a lot to dad to have (Evans) join the Marines.”
Evans, originally from Valley Falls, Kan., is working for Teracon in Topeka, Kan. as an engineering consultant. He reached his End of Active Service with the Marines in June 2011, and is now considering going to school to study engineering.