He lost his hand saving soldiers, now this Medal of Honor recipient inspires students

Two Medal of Honor recipients, Gary Rose and Leroy Petry, spoke to students at Knoxville Catholic High School about their commitment to helping others.
Two Medal of Honor recipients, Gary Rose and Leroy Petry, spoke to Knoxville Catholic High School students on Wednesday morning.
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 4:02 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Knoxville Catholic High School students gave a hero’s welcome to two Medal of Honor recipients.

The two Medal of Honor recipients were Gary Michael Rose and Leroy Petry.

In 2017, Rose became the Medal of Honor recipient for saving wounded and unconscious soldiers during the Vietnam War in Operation Tailwind in 1970.

Petry risked his life in Afghanistan in 2008 during Operation Enduring Freedom, where he threw a grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he released the grenade, it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. For his heroism and devotion to duty, then President Obama gave him the Medal of Honor in 2011.

Rose explained to students that failure was the greatest teacher of all.

“I learn more from my failures than I do from my successes. At least you learn what not to do again or maybe to approach it from a different angle,” Rose said.

The students gathered inside the school gymnasium to hear both men speak about their patriotism, courage and the sacrifices they made.

Harrison Thompson, a senior student, was grateful for the opportunity to hear both Medal of Honor recipients’ stories.

“It was awesome. I think just listening to their stories and everything that they have to say really puts my life, everyone else here, like all of our lives, it just puts everything in perspective,” Thompson said.

Rose and Petry later visited the school library and had one-on-one conversations with a smaller group of students before leaving.

Rose said he believes doing the right thing is most important in life.

“You do the right thing cause it’s the right thing to do, especially when you’re all by yourself and nobody’s looking,” Rose said.