JOPLIN, MO.--- Holding back the tears, Vietnam Veteran Vince Martinez watches what some might consider a small thing.
"It's been a long time coming," states Martinez.
Almost 4 decades, but it's not his name he's waiting to see once the work is over. In 1973 a fellow Marine's name was unintentionally left off the Veteran's Monument at Memorial Hall in Joplin.
"A former service member brought it to my attention earlier this year," states Martinez.
Since then, Martinez has worked diligently to get Marine Captain Dwight Rickman's name on the memorial. Rickman was a pilot in Vietnam, surveying the land from the sky, keeping a lookout for enemies.
"His bird dog airplane was shot down with a Vietnamese's observer on actual Christmas day of 1972," says Marinez.
Today, his name is finally taking a place of honor.
"When you look at the wall you're saying hey we got his name up there, where it belongs," states Lynden Lawson, Marine.
It's a dream come true for Martinez, paying tribute to a stranger who he views as much more.
"He's a fellow Marine. The Marine, is a brotherhood. It's referred to as the largest fraternity in the world. Once a Marine, always a Marine," states Martinez.
Rickman's name was etched just in time for the Marine Corp's birthday on Saturday and Veterans Day. The project was funded by both the Joplin Marines League and the Local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.