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Local Post Office to be Named After Hernando County Hero

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Washington D.C. – Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 1823) that will honor a fallen Hernando County hero. It was authored by Congressman Gus Bilirakis and was co-sponsored unanimously by the members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation. This act would rename the U.S. Postal Office located at 207 E Fort Dade Avenue in Brooksville as the “Specialist Justin Dean Coleman Memorial Post Office.” The Florida representative is working hard to make this happen.

“I am proud to help honor this soldier and his Gold Star family with this legislation,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “[Specialist] Coleman served our great nation with valor and fortitude. It is clearly fitting to designate his hometown post office in Brooksville, Florida in his honor. I now ask my Senate colleagues to expedite passage of this important legislation so that it may become law.”

Specialist (SPC) Justin Dean Coleman was a Hernando County native and a graduate from Nature Coast Technical High School. He was killed in action on July 24, 2009, during his first tour of duty with the 10th Mountain, 32nd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. The 21-year-old Coleman would lose his life while “patrolling a residential area of Nuristan Province in Afghanistan,” according to a statement from Bilirakis’ office.

The statement noted that Coleman followed in a long line of men in his family who were called to military service. Much like his father, grandfather, great grandfather and eight uncles, he would serve in the U.S. Armed Forces until his passing. His final heroic moments were detailed as well.

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“What was originally planned as a 96-hour mission to retake Barge Matal from the Taliban, SPC Coleman’s mission in Nuristan Province had turned into a 60-day mission.”

“His platoon conducted patrols of a local village, going from house to house checking for Taliban combatants. During the patrol, SPC Coleman provided security outside one of the houses and received direct fire from an enemy combatant, fatally wounding him in a matter of seconds.”

SPC Coleman’s drawing of the fire away from the rest of his platoon allowed the other soldiers to take cover and launch a successful counterattack on the Taliban. His heroic actions ensured that none of the other members of his company died that day. Coleman’s selfless sacrifice earned him the Bronze Star, and his bravery will never be forgotten. The late army specialist is survived by his stepmother, Pepper Coleman, and his father, Dean A. Coleman, who has advocated tirelessly for his son’s recognition.

“I never had the chance to meet Army Specialist Coleman, but after hearing from his family and advocating for this particular piece of legislation with my colleagues and vowing to honor his memory, I certainly wish I had,” the Florida lawmaker said in a speech on the House Floor.

The renaming of the local post office is a fitting way to pay tribute to the fallen Coleman, in at least some small way, for making the ultimate sacrifice for his country. The entirety of the congressman’s speech about the hometown hero can be found on YouTube under the title, “Representative Bilirakis Speaks on House Floor in Support of His Bill to Honor Hernando Hero.”

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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