October 14, 2011

Gillibrand Secures Posthumous Purple Heart for WWII Vet’s Family

Senator Helps Correct Vet Record, Honors Vet’s Courageous Service

Canandaigua, NY – After the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to issue Purple Heart honors for a Canandaigua veteran’s tombstone and family due to an erroneous omission in its records, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) secured a posthumous Purple Heart and funeral plaque for the family of the deceased World War II veteran and corrected his records. Senator Gillibrand presented the Purple Heart to the Frasca family today at Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“Mr. Frasca fought in years of combat and humbly served his country with honor,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This medal is a testimony to Mr. Frasca’s heroism and courage. He and his family deserve our utmost recognition and appreciation for what he has done for our country.”   

“We cannot thank Senator Gillibrand enough for her assistance,” said Michele Frasca-Rice, niece of Patrick Frasca. “It was important to my father, Robert Frasca, that his brother's heroism was recognized and his legacy maintained for future generations of the Frasca family. This means so much to us.”

In 2002, Patrick Frasca was awarded the Purple Heart for his service in World War II. He was honorably discharged from the Army as a corporal and field artillery gunner in the U.S. Army’s 409th Infantry from 1942 to 1945 in Europe, serving in Sicily, Southern France, Tunisia, Rome, Algeria, French Morocco, Central Europe and the Rhineland. Mr. Frasca, the first in his family to be drafted, grew up in Canandaigua with his six younger brothers, all of whom served in the military, and his four sisters. After the war, he worked at car shops in East Rochester and later work at the VA Medical Center in Canandaigua and retired in the 1990s. 

After Mr. Frasca passed away at the age of 91 in 2010, his brother, Robert Frasca, reached out to the VA requesting a Purple Heart funeral plaque and a Purple Heart replacement medal that the veteran had lost. Neither the VA nor the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) had record of the Purple Heart ever being awarded to Mr. Frasca. His brother, Mr. Robert Frasca, reached out to Senator Gillibrand’s office for help. 

With military records showing Mr. Frasca was wounded in combat and photos revealing Mr. Frasca’s 2002 award ceremony, Senator Gillibrand’s office contacted NPRC and the VA to correct the problem. Several months later, both departments confirmed that Mr. Frasca deserved a Purple Heart, updated his records, and finally issued the funeral plaque and Purple Heart in honor of Mr. Frasca.