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Monday, July 17, 2017

Congressman Kind's bill to allow veterans to obtain replacement mendals passes House

WASHINGTON D.C. - Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed U.S. Rep. Ron Kind’s Honoring Our Heroes Act, making it easier for the families of deceased veterans to obtain replacement medals when the original medals have been lost.

The Honoring Our Heroes Act was inspired by Tari Poulda of Eau Claire, whose great uncle, Bruce Bradley, died during the Pearl Harbor attacks on the USS Arizona.  Though Bradley (S2.c, USN) and his family received a posthumous Purple Heart, the medal had been misplaced in the early 2000s.  Poulda worked with caseworkers in Rep. Ron Kind’s office, and with the help of the Obama White House was able to grant an exception to the current law.

“I have long said that the best ideas for bills come directly from Wisconsinites and this bill is a great example of that,” said US Rep. Ron Kind. “With Tari’s help and determination, we worked together to ensure no other family is denied their loved ones service medals simply because of an arbitrary rule. I hope the Senate will move to quickly take up this bill and we can get this policy signed into law,” said Rep. Kind. 

“When my son and I started the process of trying to track down my great-uncle’s Purple Heart we had no idea the journey it would take us on,” said Tari Poulda. “While we were successful in getting the medal, I wanted to make sure no other family had to go through so many hurdles. Today, I am so pleased that thanks to the efforts of Rep. Kind the Honoring Our Heroes Act passed Congress.”

The bill was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. It will now go to the Senate for a vote and then to the President to be signed into law.

The current law only authorizes the Armed Forces to supply replacement medals to Veteran’s immediate next of kin.  “Immediate next of kin” is defined narrowly and only includes relatives within one generation of the veteran. The Honoring Our Heroes Act will amend the law to expand the range of relatives who can request replacement medals once there are no immediate next of kin available to make these requests. 

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