COLUMBUS GROVE — Some heroes are born. Some heroes are made. Marine Sgt. Maj. Justin LeHew is a hero born and made in Columbus Grove.LeHew is a hero, not a lot of question about that. Through three tours of Iraq and time in a half-dozen other hot spots around the globe, the Marine has earned a Navy Cross — the second-highest military honor after the Medal of Honor — a Bronze Star and a chest full of other medals to drive home the point. But talking to a full house at the Columbus Grove American Legion on Saturday, LeHew was quick to point out that he was far from the only hero in town.“It was years later, after I left home, that it I found out what a lot of my neighbors did in World War II, in Korea, in Vietnam,” LeHew said. “These are men who came home. They made a life for their kids and families and they made this town what it is.”LeHew grew up in Columbus Grove in an Air Force family. He intended to join the Air Force after graduating from Columbus Grove High School in 1988, but color-blindness kept him out. The Marines took him — to the chagrin of his mother — and for the next two decades he worked his way up through the ranks. He served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and three times more in Operation Iraqi Freedom.It was in March 2003 that he earned his Navy Cross, leading an armored column into the city of Nasiriyah to rescue soldiers trapped in the ambush made famous for the capture of U.S. Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch. He is credited with saving dozens of soldiers and Marines and leading the efforts to evacuate the injured and dead. A few days later he was back with the team that rescued Lynch from an Iraqi hospital. The following year, when he was supposed to be receiving his Navy Cross, LeHew was leading Marines surrounded in an Iraqi cemetery. He earned his Bronze Star for actions there.Not surprisingly, LeHew has his share of stories of the horrors he has been through, But it's not the terror he wants listeners to take away from the stories, he said. It's the heroism of young men from towns just like his own, willing to fight and die for each other.“I watched these men, 19, 20 years old, and it hit me, they probably came from hometowns like me and learned from great people like you,” LeHew said.LeHew credits his home town for teaching him responsibility, his brothers for teaching him how to fight, and his teachers for giving him the skills to speak and motivate his men. But there's one thing he didn't learn about until he got to boot camp.“I got there and looked around and realized about 70 percent of the other guys were African-American. A few others were Hispanic. Then there's me, from Columbus Grove,” he said with a laugh.Skin color stopped mattering quickly. By the time they were in battle, LeHew learned the meaning of the phrase, “All men are brothers.”“You find the strength to do what you need to do when that is your brother out there, a brother you don't even know. Black, white, Hispanic, Jewish, it doesn't matter. You're brothers,” LeHew said.Now assigned as the regional sergeant major of the 3rd Marine Regiment in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, LeHew said he is closer the end of his military career than the beginning. He told the crowd he plans to return to his hometown more often in the in future, but has no immediate plans to retire.“I'm just having too much fun now,” LeHew said.