Kiggans Secures Overdue Purple Heart Medal for Veteran’s Family

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: On Monday, December 18, 2023, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) presented the family of deceased United States Army Staff Sergeant (SSG) Frank Cermak Junior with the Purple Heart Medal he earned in 2012.

SSG Cermak was injured in Afghanistan in 2012 when a rocket exploded approximately ten feet away from where he was receiving patients as a part of a medical evacuation (medevac). After experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI) symptoms, SSG Cermak and two other helicopter crew members who were involved in the medevac explosion were admitted to a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) clinic. In 2015, SSG Cermak was medically discharged from the Army due to other non-combat related injuries. He passed away in 2021.

After an unsuccessful attempt to obtain his Purple Heart Medal in 2022, SSG Cermak’s family contacted Congresswoman Kiggans’ Office in May of 2023 for assistance. After contacting the U.S. Department of the Army and requesting the inclusion of SSG Cermak’s VA medical records – which prove his qualifications for the Purple Heart Medal – Congresswoman Kiggans’ office was able to secure SSG Cermak’s rightfully-owed Purple Heart Medal.

Congresswoman Kiggans presented Staff Sergeant Cermak’s Purple Heart to his father, Mr. Frank Cermak Sr., other family members, and June Lietz, who was SSG Cermak’s Squadron Leader at the time of his injury.

“Our son SSG Frank Joseph Cermak, was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his heroic actions and injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan as an Army Combat Flight Medic 11 years 6 months and 2 days after the initial incident occurred. He flew approximately 400 missions where he served as an essential crew member risking his life and caring for others. Congresswoman Kiggans, and her staff, were instrumental in advocating for and ensuring our son received his due recognition. We will always be eternally grateful for Congresswoman Kiggans and her determination in making sure all of our military members are supported and appreciated for the services they provide for our country,” said Mr. Frank Cermak Sr.

Congresswoman Kiggans’ office is available to help VA-02 constituents with federal agencies, including – but not limited to – the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, and the State Department. To date, Congresswoman Kiggans’ office has solved 247 constituent cases with the VA, saving them nearly $180,000 in owed benefits. To contact Congresswoman Kiggans’ office regarding an issue with a federal agency, call (757) 364-7650, or visit kiggans.house.gov/agencies.

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