COLUMBUS, OH – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown presented the Purple Heart today to Ohio Veteran Joseph D. Thomas for injuries sustained during the Vietnam War. U.S. Army Specialist Thomas was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action in 1970.
“When an American puts on the uniform of the U.S. military, leaves family, and embarks on a journey to uphold our values, it is a great sacrifice,” Brown said. “Veterans who suffer injury while protecting our country deserve high award. Today, forty years later, it is an honor to commend Ohio Veteran Joseph D. Thomas for his courage, leadership, and loyalty to our country.”
“I’m very pleased to be with Senator Brown as he recognizes a fellow veteran who not only has served America during a difficult time while in Vietnam, but an individual who was injured in combat during that service,” said Douglas E. Lay, Director of the Franklin County Veterans Service Commission. “Although a long time coming, heroes like Joseph Thomas came home, raised a family and carried on with his life, sometimes remembering what this decoration may have cost him and his comrades.”
Sen. Brown worked to secure the medal for Mr. Thomas forty years after the award was bestowed on the Columbus-area native. Mr. Thomas is also eligible for the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Tree Bronze Service Stars, Sharpshooter Badge with Rival Bar, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal Unit Citation, First Class, which Sen. Brown’s office is working to obtain.
The Purple Heart is the oldest military decorate in the world in present use. It was established by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. It is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who, while serving, has been wounded or killed, or has died in any action against an enemy of the United States.