(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today announced that prestigious Purple Heart medals will be posthumously awarded to four New Hampshire Prisoners of War who died in captivity. Of the soldiers being honored, three served in World War II and one served in Korea.
"These medals represent a long overdue recognition of the tremendous sacrifice these brave men made in defense of our freedoms," said Shaheen. "I hope these symbols of our nation's gratitude provide a measure of solace to the families of these fallen heroes."
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 during WWII or Korea and are now 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. Senator Shaheen has been working with the appropriate military branches to determine eligibility for awards. Today's announcement represents the second group for whom next of kin have been located. In all, 32 New Hampshire veterans have been honored as a result of this important effort.
"We are pleased to be presenting these much belated honors to the loved ones of these fallen soldiers" said Allan Gavan of the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War. "Our objective remains to follow through on obtaining medals for all 61 of our heroes. Twenty more Purple Hearts are in process and we continue our search for next-of-kin of the remaining few."
The medals will be presented to the families of the following POWs by the NH Chapter of American Ex-POWs on Saturday, September 25 at a 10AM ceremony at the NH State Veterans Cemetery:
Waldo Balukevicuis (Hillsborough)
Harl Pease, Jr. (Plymouth)
Peter Young (Rockingham)
George A. Curley (Carroll)