Legislation named in honor of local hero Gary Beikirch

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GREECE, N.Y. — New state legislation, named in honor of Rochester area Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Gary Beikirch, expands who can apply for license plates commemorating service.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the legislation that allows the spouses of Medal of Honor recipients to apply for commemorative license plates. The state says the Sergeant Gary Beikirch Memorial Act will help to preserve the legacy of military heroes including by allowing Beikirch’s wife to honor her late husband.

Beikirch, an army medic who served in Vietnam War, died of pancreatic cancer in December 2021 at the age of 74. The Greece native ran through gunfire and got hit by shrapnel while rescuing wounded soldiers during an attack on Dak Seang Camp in 1970. As Beikirch was carrying a wounded soldier for medical help, he heard an incoming rocket and threw himself on top of the soldier to save him.

News10NBC spoke with Beikirch’s friends and family at his memorial service. Lt. Colonel Doug Herrmann, also a Greece native, spoke about Beikirch’s impact after returning home from the war.

“He was devoted to reaching out to his generation of Vietnam Veterans as well as the current generation of veterans who share the struggle to heal from the physical and emotional wounds of war. He was a master at connecting with people,” Herrmann said.