IVEL – Serving in the military is a calling many men and women answer. Fighting for the freedoms and rights of American citizens is an honor and duty for these men and women. The brotherhood among soldiers is strong and unspoken. One local businessman was recently honored for his bravery, honor and the service he gave as an army soldier and continues to give as a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Morris Hylton, of Ivel was recently named the 2016-2017 Disabled American Veteran of the Year.
The Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, is an organization chartered by the United States Congress for disabled military veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces that helps them and their families through various means.
Hylton served in the United States Army from 1966- 1968, with one tour in Vietnam. In Vietnam he served with company D 1st Battalion, 5th Calvary moving from place to place by choppers and making air assaults into heated areas. In 1967 he was wounded from shrapnel from a mortar attack. After a few weeks of recovering from his injuries, he was sent back into the field.
In April, his 1st battalion and Company D was sent to Kha Sanh to reopen Highway 1 when chaos ensued. The group encountered 6,000 marines surrounded by an estimated 30,000 North Vietnamese troops when the company was hit with mortar rocket attacks. While under attack, Hylton exposed himself to hostile fire as he moved through the impact area to assist in the evacuation of his injured comrades, being injured himself for the second time. He continued to aid his fellow soldiers until he was evacuated to a medical hospital in Da-Nang.
Once he left the military, Hylton began civilian life by starting a manufactured home business, Hylton Homes, in 1977. He has worked closely with local government in the community to help low-income families realize the dream of home ownership. It is his willingness to help fellow citizens that make him a worthy contender for the DAV of the Year award.
Over 18 years ago, Hylton started an annual veteran’s memorial golf tournament to help raise funds for his local DAV Betsy Layne chapter. He is a lifetime member of the chapter. He was also involved in establishing a 70-foot landmark flag pole at Davidson Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Knowing his local chapter needed a place to hold its monthly meetings, which occur the first Saturday of each month at 4 p.m., Hylton donated a double wide.
Hylton is a pillar of the community. The pride and honor he displayed as a young solider years ago remains in the heart of the DAV he is today. He has been bestowed the following awards: National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Three Bronze Service Stars, Republic of Vietnam campaign ribbon with 60 devices, two Purple Hearts, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal for Heroism, Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation and Two O/S Bars.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.