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Willow Grove World War II veteran finally receiving service medals

Published On: Apr 24 2013 01:01:38 PM EDT
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A 91-year-old World War II veteran from Willow Grove will receive medals and other forms of recognition he earned but never obtained after Senator Pat Toomey asked the Navy to provide the items recognizing his service as a young sailor 70 years ago.

Walter Czerviski served on active duty in the Navy from 1942 to 1945. He served aboard the light cruiser USS Milwaukee and the heavy cruiser USS Chicago, among other duty stations.

When Czerviski was discharged, he was given a card listing the awards he had earned. He never received the items of recognition and did not pursue them until recently. It was his wife of 65 years, Jackie Czerviski, who asked State Representative Thomas Murt at a random encounter in a local bank how he might obtain the items. Murt’s office made several requests to the Navy.


But when various avenues were unsuccessful, the Czerviskis were referred to Toomey’s office. With the help of his constituent service advocate, Imani Johnson, Toomey contacted the Navy. The items of recognition arrived in Toomey’s office six weeks later.

Toomey’s state director, Bob DeSousa – a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard– and State Representatives Thomas Murt and Todd Stephens will present the long-overdue items to Czerviski on April 26 at the Willow Grove VFW.

“Mr. Czerviski served our country with distinction in both theaters in World War II,” said Toomey. “I am overjoyed that we were able to help him receive the items of recognition that he earned. For more than half a century, Mr. Czerviski has been an unsung hero. World War II veterans are humble and often reluctant to accept recognition. I am glad that Mrs. Czerviski got the ball rolling, and I was honored to help Mr. Czerviski and his family finally get the credit and gratitude they are due.”

Said Murt: “The men and women who fought in the Second World War have been called the Greatest Generation. These were young men who accepted responsibility and the consequences of their decisions. They took pride in personal accountability, but rarely talked about their actions. They did what was expected of them with grace and modesty. Walter Czerviski was one of those young men.”
“It is a privilege to stand with Walter Czerviski as he receives the medals that have been owed him for his sacrifice during World War II,” Rep. Stephens said. “This honor is 70 years overdue.”