(C. Proxmire, Oct. 15, 2012)
A lifelong Ferndale resident who was severely injured during the Vietnam War has finally been given his rightfully earned Purple Heart. With an audience of about one hundred friends, family and fellow vets and servicemen, Army Sgt. Tom Ducharme received the medal from Senator Carl Levin on Oct. 5, 2012. His wife Jeanmarie and sons Matt and Jack looked on with pride.
On July 10, 1970, Ducharme came under fire. Artillery took his right hand, his left lung, and caused damage to the left side of his face. He had been in Vietnam less than three weeks before the near-fatal injuries occurred, yet the operations and healing that followed took years.
Levin joked about the expediency of government, but the 40 year delay in receiving the honor was because Ducharme did not seek out recognition until recently when his boys began asking about his time in service to his country.
Hangin’ with the Heroes, a group organized to recognize military servicemen and servicewomen in Ferndale and surrounding areas, hosted the event at the Ferndale Elks Clubs. Find out more about the group on their Facebook page. Watch the ceremony at http://youtu.be/DSNm6zISOsk.