OLD TAPPAN, NJ — On Monday, February 24, US Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) presented long-awaited medals to World War II veteran and River Vale native Thomas H. Simpson, over 70 years old. after serving in the US Navy helping deliver food and supplies to Okinawa, Japan.
After learning that Simpson, 92, a former police chief of River Vale, had never received his service medals, Old Tappan Mayor John Kramer contacted Gottheimer’s office for help.
Gottheimer cut the red tape for federal government medals 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 Asian Pacific Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the Honorable Reserve Discharge Button, and the Honorable Ruptured Duck Service Pin.
According to the River Vale website, Simpson was sworn in as the city’s third police chief in July 1972, following the retirement of Chief Nelson Roberge. By January 1974, the department had grown to 20 full-time police officers and the township’s population was approximately 9,000. Simpson retired from RVPD in 1992.
“It is 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 in the Fifth District, I feel especially fortunate to be able to spend time with so many of our brave veterans, ”Gotthheimer told reporters afterwards.
He added, “It is our duty as Americans not only to honor these men and women, but to do all we can to fight for them when they return, to ensure that they receive the proper care. they need, the benefits they have been promised and the support we all owe them.
Fewer than 500,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II are alive today, he said.
Last July, Gottheimer presented a Congressional Medal to Tuskegee Airman Pvt. Roscoe DuBois “Chef” Draper, then 100 years old, in the neighborhood. (See Congressional Medal for Aviator Tuskegee from Westwood, July 22, 2019.)
During this convention, Gottheimer helped lead several initiatives to fight for North Jersey veterans:
He recently announced that eligible North Jersey veterans will now be able to receive healthcare referrals at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, after the hospital is approved as a provider of the VA Community Care Network (CCN) – a priority that Gottheimer discussed with the director of the VA New Jersey Health Care System last fall.
Gottheimer’s announcement will offer North Jersey veterans shorter commute times and better access to care for Fifth District veterans.
The House passed Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation to invest in filling the more than 49,000 vacant positions in the VA.
The House also passed Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation to increase investments by the Veterans Health Administration to specifically hire more mental health professionals.