Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Thomas H. Corey. Thomas served from 1966 to 1968 during the Vietnam War.
Thomas was drafted into the Army on Dec. 7, 1966 and was sent to Vietnam as a squad leader with the 1st Air Cavalry Division. While engaged in an assault on Jan. 31, 1968 during the Tet Offensive, Thomas was shot in the neck, permanently damaging his spinal cord. He is now a quadriplegic and was medically retired in 1968.
After a long period of hospitalization, Thomas returned to his family in Detroit and spent time in and out of VA hospitals. He moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 1972 and now lives in Jupiter, Florida. Thomas has served on several advisory boards with various local governments and Veterans associations, serving in leadership roles of secretary, vice president and president. He has received numerous awards for his advocacy for Veterans’ and disabled people’s rights and currently works for the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center as a program specialist.
Thomas has returned to Vietnam 16 times representing Vietnam Veterans of America. He has led delegation meetings with high-ranking Vietnamese and Laotian leaders, government officials and Veterans organizations regarding healthcare research and recovery efforts of Americans still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action. Thomas was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Vietnam.
Thomas received the Bronze Star with the V device, two Purple Hearts, and many other awards for his service. He was also the first recipient of the Vietnam Veterans of America’s highest award, the VVA Commendation Medal.
Thomas is a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Association, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1st Cavalry Association and the National Association of Uniformed Services.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Thomas’ injury and a luncheon is being held in his honor by Vietnam Veterans of America on April 18th.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Graphic By Lilian Vo: Lilian Vo is an undergraduate senior at George Mason University studying Global Affairs and Intelligence Analysis.
Nick Pearlman is a junior studying Government and Business Analytics at William and Mary. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is currently a writing and social media intern at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.