Kevin Rankel – Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of Full-O-Pep Appliances, Inc., dba American Rental – had a dream of his son, USMC Sergeant John Rankel, being inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame … and last month, that dream came true.
Sgt. Rankel was one of 21 classmates selected for the honor. “We were overjoyed,” says proud father Kevin. “We’d been waiting on this level of recognition to happen, and it means the world to us.” This year’s inductees join only 62 other veterans total as members of this prestigious group.
John Rankel was killed on June 7, 2010, while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. He joined the Marines following graduation, working his way up to the rank of sergeant by the age of 23. During his first four-year stint as a Marine, Rankel’s unit – the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force – was deployed twice to Iraq. He re-enlisted when he learned his unit was going to deploy to Afghanistan.
During his service, Sergeant Rankel received multiple Combat Action ribbons, the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Afghanistan and Iraq campaign medals, multiple Sea Service Deployment ribbons, and the Global War on Terrorism and National Defense Service medals, as well as three individual certificates of commendation.
“We feel John’s story is very worthy of induction, and fortunately this year, the committee agreed,” says Kevin.
The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame was founded in 2013, and is chaired by Russ Dowden, a retired U.S. Army Colonel.The organization’s vision is to recognize outstanding service by Indiana veterans. Veterans must be nominated for the Hall of Fame and are considered based on two categories – valor on the battlefield, and additional contributions to veterans after their military careers.
“We’ve been trying to get John inducted since the Hall of Fame was created,” Kevin Rankel notes. “It was a very emotional day.”