The parents, families and friends of Army Specialist Justin R. Helton of Beaver, Ohio and Lieutenant Junior Grade Stephen F. Byus, originally from Wellston, Ohio received Ohio's Military Medals of Distinction today during a joint session of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives. The special session convened for the purpose of honoring Ohio's military men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"Today we honor Justin and Stephen both who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country," said State Senator Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) whose senate district covers both soldier's hometowns in southern Ohio. "To the families and friends of these two brave young men, we extend our deepest sympathy and heartfelt thanks. We share the privilege of preserving their legacies of honor, courage and commitment to our nation."

The Medals of Distinction are presented each year to the loved ones of Ohio's fallen soldiers during a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly. Six families received medals at today's ceremony held in the House chambers. 

Specialist Helton died June 9, 2014 while serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Helton was a member of 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 18th Ordnance Company out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina and a 2006 graduate of Eastern High School.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Byus died September 16, 2014 while on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Byus was a member of the United States Navy Reserve and was employed by the Defense Logistics Agency where he was volunteering to assist the Afghan Army in improving its logistics capabilities. 

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