Press Releases

Trahan Honors Long-Deserved Purple Heart Recipient

LOWELL, MA – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) honored Mr. Frederick Thumith of Chelmsford by presenting and pinning him with his Purple Heart. It has been 53 years since his injuries in Vietnam and a decade since he started working on his Purple Heart request. With advocacy by Trahan’s office, Thumith’s long-deserved Purple Heart request was finally approved. 

“Today, we are finally properly honoring Frederick Thumith’s bravery and service with this Purple Heart. Most of us can only imagine the heroic sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make every day, but Frederick made those sacrifices and his service cannot go unnoticed,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan. “When my team received his Purple Heart request and heard his story, there was no question that we would do all we could to get this request approved and honor the sacrifices he made for our country.”

Trahan’s office has worked with Thumith since 2019 to obtain his Purple Heart Medal based on injuries sustained in combat over 50 years ago. Fred served in the Vietnam War with the 19th Engineering Battalion. On April 22nd, 1969, Thumith’s vehicle was struck by a command-detonated mine. The explosion rolled the truck on its side, ejecting him from the vehicle. Following the blast and rollover, enemy combatants ambushed Thumith and his fellow soldiers.

Thumith was hospitalized for 48 days while he recovered from his injuries, and General Kenneth Wickham sent a telegram to his parents acknowledging their son's engagement with enemy fire and resulting combat injuries. Despite this, his commanders never submitted a Purple Heart Packet while Thumith was on active duty. He recovered from his injuries and continued to serve in the Army until his honorable discharge in 1974.

Following attempts to secure his Purple Heart Medal from the Army after his service, Thumith reached out to Trahan’s office for assistance. 53 years later, with advocacy by Trahan’s office, the Awards and Decorations Branch of the Army Human Resources Command finally approved Thumith’s long-deserved Purple Heart medal.

During the pinning ceremony, Trahan and Thumith were joined by Town Manager Paul Cohen, the Command Team from the 19th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Knox, KY, and the Command Team from the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, as well as Thumith’s wife, three children, and four grandchildren.