Sunday, May 28, 2000

Driven to succeed 'for all my buddies'

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGBORO — Thirteen months in hospitals recovering from war wounds couldn't dim John Agenbroad's desire to achieve.

        “I wanted to be successful not for me. I wanted to be successful for all my buddies who were stigmatized as baby killers,” he said.

(Michael Snyder photo)
        Mr. Agenbroad, mayor of this Warren County city and leader of a Tristate printers' union, served more than a year in Vietnam.

        Drafted into the Army, the Dayton, Ohio, native joined the Marine Corps in 1966. He received the first of three Purple Hearts when, on patrol near Khe Sanh in November 1967, he was hit in the left leg by a sniper. He was hit again in the same leg by sniper fire three months later. Then on June 6, 1968 — his 21st birthday — a grenade shot shrapnel into his left side, from hip to foot.

        Fortunate to keep his leg, he received treatment at nine hospitals, coming home to a country that considered him a “baby killer” and “drug addict.”

        “I wasn't going to sit around and feel sorry for myself, but thank God for our families,” Mr. Agenbroad said. “At least they wanted us back.”

        He received counseling at the Dayton VA hospital for a year to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Agenbroad in 1966
        He finished three associate's degrees at Sinclair Community College before going on to Wright State University, where he earned bachelor's degrees in psychology and business law.

        He is a member of nine veterans groups.

        “I wouldn't trade my experience for anything in the world. It gave me the drive I have today,” said Mr. Agenbroad, the father of two adult children who lives in Springboro with his wife of 25 years, Patti.

        Their house is the one with the illuminated U.S. and POW-MIA flags in front.

        “We have a lot of titles in this country,” he said. “I'm "American' before anything else. I wear it on my sleeve.”


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