Gottheimer Presents WWII Navy Veteran and Fifth District Native with Long Overdue Military Service Medals

Feb 24, 2020

92-year-old River Vale native receives medals more than 70 years later

Above: Gottheimer presents World War II U.S. Navy Veteran Thomas Simpson with long overdue medals for his service.

OLD TAPPAN, NJ – On Monday, February 24, 2020, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) delivered long overdue service medals to World War II veteran and Fifth District native Thomas Simpson, more than 70 years following his service in the U.S. Navy helping deliver food and supplies to Okinawa, Japan.

After learning that Simpson, a 92-year-old River Vale native, never received his service medals, Old Tappan Mayor John Kramer contacted Gottheimer’s office for assistance. Gottheimer cut through red tape to secure the medals from the federal government and visited Simpson today to present him and his family with medals honoring his service to the United States.

Gottheimer presented Simpson with the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Honorable Reserve Discharge Button, and the Ruptured Duck Honorable Service Lapel Pin.

Following his military service, Simpson later served as River Vale’s Chief of Police. Simpson is now retired in nearby Old Tappan.

“It’s an absolute honor and privilege to hear Mr. Simpson’s story, and to thank him for his service to our great country. Throughout my work all across the Fifth District, I feel especially lucky to be able to spend time with so many of our brave veterans,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “It is our duty as Americans not only to honor these men and women, but to do everything we can to fight for them when they return, to ensure they have the care they need, the benefits they were promised, and the support we all owe them.”

Gottheimer continued, “I want to impress upon all veterans throughout the Fifth District that my door is always open for any issues they may have. After sacrificing so much, they and their families should never struggle to get the care or recognition they so rightfully deserve.”

Fewer than 500,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are still alive today.

During this Congress, Gottheimer has helped lead several initiatives to fight for North Jersey’s veterans:

  • Gottheimer recently announced that eligible North Jersey veterans will now be able to receive health care referrals to Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, following the hospital’s approval as a VA Community Care Network (CCN) provider — a priority Gottheimer discussed with the Director of the VA New Jersey Health Care System this past fall. Gottheimer’s announcement will provide North Jersey veterans with shorter drive times and greater access to care for veterans in the Fifth District.
  • The House passed Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation to invest in filling the more than 49,000 vacant positions at the VA.
  • The House also passed Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation to increase investment for the Veterans Health Administration to specifically hire more mental health professionals.

Below: Gottheimer visits World War II Navy veteran Thomas Simpson today.

Below: Gottheimer visits World War II Navy veteran Thomas Simpson and his family.


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