Jim Judson got his medals back.
On Friday, March 21, 2014, Vietnam Veteran and retired N.C. Highway Patrol (NCHP) State Trooper Jim Judson was awarded the Purple Heart - again.
Though he lost his commendation medals many years ago, with the help of Ashe County Veterans Service Officer Darryl Vaughn and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, Judson got his just due at a ceremony in the main hall at the Museum of Ashe County, last Friday.
Judson, who served in the U.S. Army, was wounded on March 30, 1968. In May of 1971, he joined the NCHP and served as a patrolman until retiring in April 1997.
In addition to Foxx and Vaughn, a representative from Senator Richard Burr’s office was on-hand along with Judson’s wife, two daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren, friends and other relatives and around 10 other veterans.
“Today is for Vietnam’s veterans,” Veterans Service Officer for Ashe County Darryl Vaughn said, as he opened the ceremony.
Vaughn said that one of his primary goals since returning home from service in Operation Desert Storm has been to give veterans of the Vietnam War the recognition they deserve.
Vaughn came home to celebrations and great fanfare. That wasn’t the case for Vietnam veterans, many of whom were met with protests or indifference, upon their return home.
Foxx thanked Judson and the other veterans in attendance, for their service to the country, and then presented Judson with the Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal.
Judson was visibly moved as he thanked Foxx, Vaughn and all who came to the ceremony, particularly the other veterans.
In January, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a proclamation designating Ashe County as a “Purple Heart County.” The designation is sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Counties designated as such are presented with an official “Purple Heart” flag, which can be flown on government property.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.