Red Cross hosts blood drive in memory of local hero

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A special blood drive in memory of one of the most decorated military veterans in Rochester area history, Gary Beikirch, will be held on Saturday at the Northwest Family YMCA on Long Pond Road. 

A former U.S. Special Forces combat medic, Beikirch was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions at Camp Dak Seang, Vietnam in April 1970.  Beikirch, 22 years old at the time, was hit twice by North Vietnamese fire, including a shrapnel wound to his spine. Despite his serious injuries, he helped defend the camp and repeatedly exposed himself to fire to provide aid to the wounded. After two years of intensive rehabilitation, including learning to walk again, Beikirch received his Medal of Honor in 1973.

Following his military career, he continued his service to others, working as a counselor for the Greece Central School District and as an ordained minister. He also continued to work with his fellow veterans in the community, eventually serving as executive director of the Veterans Outreach Center. He died in 2021 at the age of 74, following a battle with cancer.

You can donate to the Red Cross here.