- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota businessman who served in the Spanish-American War is finally receiving military recognition nearly half a century after his death.

The Aberdeen News (https://bit.ly/2qeeRZW ) reported Thomas Jefferson Henegar’s family will be able to place a military marker on his headstone at Riverside Memorial Cemetery in May after a lengthy journey to verify his military service.

Cindy Mohr, Henegar’s granddaughter, says the records of his service were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. According to the center, the fire destroyed between 16 million and 18 million military records.

Mohr’s mom, Dolores Forrest spent years compiling information in an attempt to get recognition for her father. When Forest died in 2014, Mohr took over.

Mohr turned to Sam Olson, an Americanism officer, and Aaron Walberg, Brown County Veterans Service officer, for help.

“We kept running into dead ends,” Olson said. “I finally asked Cindy if she could send me photos, and from there we were able to find out (Henegar) had medals.”

They discovered a photo of Henegar in uniform wearing two small medals given out for service in the Spanish-American War. Sen. John Thune’s office assisted in the research by requesting the necessary military records.

Walberg said the age of Henegar’s case made it unique.

“It’s really a neat deal,” Walberg said. “These are guys that served in the late 1800s, and here we are 119 years later setting a military marker to commemorate his service to this country. It just goes to show you it’s never too late.”

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com


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