Central Texas Heroes: Bill Mahon honored

FORT WORTH, Texas (KWTX) He has become a familiar face here at KWTX News10 for his tireless work on behalf of Central Texas veterans.

Bill Mahon accepts Emmy for KWTX documentary in Forth Worth on Oct. 15, 2016

And Bill Mahon was also instrumental in our documentary We Can't Forget Vietnam.

When that documentary won an Emmy this month it was only fitting that Mr. Mahon accepted the award.

When Mahon returned home from Vietnam people took one look at his uniform and laughed at him, yelled heinous slurs, and even refused to wait on him.

"I hear people say all the time, 'thank you for your service.' There's a big difference between thank you for your service and I'm sorry I spit on you, I'm sorry I called you a baby killer, I'm sorry I kicked you off my car lot," he told us.

But on October 15 he received a far kinder response decades overdue.

"I've waited 45 years for that sound," Mahon said, "the sound of your clapping."

We Can't Forget Vietnam brought attention not to the war or whether it was right or wrong, but to the veterans themselves.

Mahon was not only featured in the documentary, but encouraged other Central Texas veterans to break their silence and share their experiences too.

Mahon said, "I humbly accept this for all of them that served, men and women, the youngest 15, the oldest 65. I accept it in memory of the 58,000 that got killed, of the 325,000 that got wounded."

He also wants to make sure Americans remember those whose fate is still unknown.

"I accept it remembering the prisoners of war. Since World War I, we have 85,580 unaccounted for Americans," he said.

Mahon has remained humble about his service but he wants Americans to show respect for those who've served.

And the night he graciously accepted the award, he wore his uniform with pride and purpose.

"I wear it tonight as a stand for every veteran that came home, and was humiliated, so I thank you," he said.