U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Judd Gregg and Representatives Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter today announced that they have secured prestigious Purple Heart medals for 28 New Hampshire Prisoners of War who died in captivity. Of the soldiers being honored, 16 served in World War II and 12 served in the Korean War.
"These men made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and we must honor their service," said Shaheen. "I am glad these medals will finally be given to the families of these fallen soldiers. They too have sacrificed for our freedom."
"It is an honor to support those soldiers and their families who have sacrificed so much in defense of our country," said Gregg. "This is welcome news for the families who have waited far too long for the bravery and courage of their loved ones to be recognized."
"These medals represent our enduring gratitude for the bravery and patriotism exhibited by our fallen heroes," said Hodes. "I am proud to join with all Granite Staters in honoring the incredible sacrifices they and their families made for our country."
"These brave men lost their lives while defending our country and I am so pleased that their service is finally being honored," said Shea-Porter. "I hope that these medals will provide some comfort to the families of these fallen service members."
The New Hampshire Chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War, led by World War II veteran and ex-POW Allan Gavan, has identified 61 New Hampshire POWs who died in service to their country and are eligible to receive the Purple Heart. The organization has been working to locate the next of kin for all 61 soldiers -- as is required by the military in order to posthumously award service medals. The New Hampshire Congressional delegation has been working with the appropriate military branches to determine eligibility for awards, and today's announcement represents the first group for whom next of kin have been located.
"Thanks to the tireless work of a dedicated group of New Hampshire veterans and ex-POWs, and the ongoing assistance of the New Hampshire congressional delegation, 28 POWs are finally being recognized for their service to and sacrifice for our country," said Gavan. "We are determined to continue our work until all New Hampshire men who died as POWs and their families have been appropriately recognized for their sacrifices."
The medals will be presented to the families of the following:
Wesley Ash (Merrimack County)
Francis Ashey (Lebanon)
Philip Botsford (Lyndeborough)
Herbert Brokenshire (Winchester)
Madison Charles (Coos County)
Robert Chase (Strafford County)
John Cuss (Alton)
Myron Dick (Durham)
Gerald Dubay (Rockingham County)
Leland Dunham (Littleton)
Houston Edwards (Portsmouth)
Reginald Frazier (East Swanzey)
Burt Gay (New London)
Herbert Hesseltine (Littleton)
Joseph St. Laurent (Keene)
Harry Leighton (Rochester)
Elliott Lund (Hillsborough)
William Marston (Concord)
Roland Maynard (Hillsborough)
Patrick McLaughlin (Hillsborough County)
Joseph Pelletier (Berlin)
James Picard (Hillsborough County)
Elmer Richard (Exeter)
John Francis Ryder (Merrimack County)
Alfred Sidney (Littleton)
Frederick Stearns (Cheshire County)
Joseph Sullivan (Stratford)
Aurel Tremblay (Nashua)