Just days before his birthday, a Hudson Valley Vietnam veteran received a replacement for his Purple Heart after spending decades fighting for a replacement.

Last Thursday, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) presented Washingtonville resident, Army Specialist Paul DeRogatis with a Purple Heart just days before his 70th birthday.

DeRogatis spent decades working to obtain a replacement for his original medal.

DeRogatis’ original Purple Heart was lost during his transfer from a U.S. Army medical facility in Japan to Walter Reed Hospital while he was incapacitated and in a body cast, officials say. He spent decades working to obtain a replacement for his original medal.

“Veterans who were wounded while honorably serving their country shouldn’t have to wait decades to get the awards and benefits they earned, but I’m glad this story ends with Mr. DeRogatis getting his Purple Heart,” Maloney said.

According to a press release, DeRogatis was injured in April 1969 in Vietnam when his base was mortared by the enemy. During the attack, DeRogatis’ friend Lou Testa, left the protection of his bunker to find DeRogatis laying on the ground unable to move and severely bleeding from his leg. Lou then dragged his friend back to the safety of the bunker where they stopped the bleeding.

After the attack, DeRogatis was evacuated to Japan, where he was put in a body cast and awarded the Purple Heart. After he was transferred, several of his items were missing, including his purple heart.

“I would first like to thank my friend Louis Testa for saving my life in Vietnam. Unfortunately, he is no longer here due to his long battle with cancer. I’d also like to thank my wife, my son, my two daughters and my friends who never gave up on me,” DeRogatis said.

DeRogatis and his wife have spent over 40 years working to recover a replacement medal but found little success until they were put in contact with Rep. Maloney’s office in September, according to a press release.

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