Local resident to attend Purple Heart ceremony


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The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Inc. is providing an all-expenses-paid trip, sponsored by American Airlines, bringing together Purple Heart recipients from each state to salute their courage and sacrifice through a series of tours and ceremonies at the U.S. Military Academy West Point, historic Washington’s Headquarters, and a “Welcome Home” celebration.

The multi-day tribute on Aug. 7 will be capped off with a special visit to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor – the museum dedicated to paying tribute to our nation’s combat wounded – on National Purple Heart Day.

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A local veteran will be taking part in this special recognition, the Purple Heart Patriot Project – Mission No. 1, through the National Purple Heart Honor Mission.

Joseph Guchek, 72, is a current North Brunswick resident who lived in Monroe for seven years after moving from Highland Park.

He served in Vietnam from March 1967 to March 1968, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant, Pay Grade E6, for the U.S. Army. He served with the 27th Infantry Regiment “Wolfhounds”, 25th Infantry Division, during the Tet Offensive.

He received the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal for Valor and Good Conduct Medal.

“Having served in a combat zone in the infantry I learned at an early age what hardship and loss of life are and how to try to overcome its perils. By belonging to military organizations and being an advocate for veterans issues both personal and for veterans in general it helps me by sharing what I have endured and how I survived both in combat and life in general with things like family, finances and every day issues and the memories and loss that come with serving,” he said.

Guchek was nominated for Purple Heart Patriot Project – Mission No. 1 by Joe Belardo, New Jersey state commander of Military Order of Purple Hearts and Chapter 10 president as a result of serving as chapter historian and presenter of the Leadership Award to various ROTC and Junior ROTC groups, he said.

“I am truly honored and humbled to have been chosen when so many are worthy,” he said.

He said he is proud to be an American veteran.

“Many of us have heard the expression ‘Freedom is not free.’ Having shed blood for my country and [having] fought with those who gave their lives makes me proud and gives me the right to speak up in defense of our great nation. I am not a hero but I have walked with many,” he said.


Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com.

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