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County man wins prestigious award

Staff Sgt. Richard Kollar.

Staff Sgt. Richard Kollar, originally of Elmo, now stationed in Italy, recently won the prestigious Sigholtz Board competition. Kollar belongs to the 173rd Support Battalion (Airborne). As a noncommissioned officer, Kollar is expected to embody leadership, and he displayed his leadership qualities at the competition held in February. This competition is a yearly event and it began in 1969. Every year since its inception, the award has been won by an infantryman.

The 10 mile road march portion of the competition consisted of varied terrain up and down a mountain. His time for the 10-mile road march portion was 1 hour 49 minutes. The second place winner did not arrive at the finish line for 25 minutes following Kollar's win. Along with the physical portion of the competition, Kollar participated in weapons qualification, and a board test in front of four command sergeants major and one first sergeant.

Kollar, a combat medic, is the first soldier to win the award whose military occupation speciality is not as an infantryman. He hopes his victory will influence other soldiers who are not "11 Bravos" to compete. "I think a lot of support elements are intimidated by infantrymen, and they shouldn't be," said Kollar. "You just need to be confident and perform the best you can."

Staff Sgt. Kollar was recognized for his achievement by receiving an Army Commendation Medal from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Col. Kevin Owens during a recent ceremony. Kollar, and his wife Wendy, will also travel to Sydney, Australia for a 10 day vacation, as part of the prize for winning the competition.

Kollar was deployed to Afghanistan in March from his base in Italy. In June, he will be flown back to Italy, pick up his wife, and enjoy the vacation to Australia.

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