GALLUP — It will only take the signature of President Joe Biden to make the Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura VA Clinic a reality.
The U.S. House of Representatives Monday passed legislation renaming the Department of Veterans Affairs Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Gallup after the late Medal of Honor recipient and World War II and Korean War veteran.
The Senate had already passed identical legislation, supported by New Mexico Sens. Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández.
Biden is expected to sign the bill into law.
“The call of service is one that a select few among us choose to answer,” Leger Fernández said in a news release. “Hershey Miyamura chose to answer it twice. I am grateful to my colleagues for passing this bill and honoring this hero. We will honor Corporal Miyamura’s memory every day by providing care for our veterans in Gallup under his name.” Miyamura, later a staff sergeant was honored with the United States Armed Forces’ highest military decoration for his actions near Taejon-Ni, Korea, during the Korean conflict.
When enemy troops threatened to overrun his unit, the society says, Miyamura engaged them in close hand-to-hand combat, administered fi rst aid to the wounded, and manned a machine gun to cover the withdrawal of soldiers under his command. He then fought his way to another gun emplacement and covered the movement of other comrades before expending his ammunition and being wounded and captured.
Miyamura served more than two years in a POW camp. He died Nov. 29, 2022, surrounded by his family.
‘Honoring his lifelong commitment to this community’
"Renaming the VA Clinic in Gallup is one important way we can continue to honor Hershey Miyamura's courageous actions and brave sacrifices during the Korean War and his lifelong commitment to this community," Heinrich said in a statement. "I will never forget the interactions I was so lucky to have with Hershey over the years. I was especially proud to join him nearly a decade ago to cut the ribbon and open this clinic that provides vital health care services to veterans from Gallup and surrounding areas. I hope that honoring Hershey’s memory in this way will inspire future generations of New Mexicans to learn more about his life and the powerful example of humble patriotism
that he left behind as his enduring legacy." Luján added: "I'm proud our legislation to honor Hiroshi 'Hershey' Miyamura's legacy passed the House and Senate and will be signed into law. By renaming Gallup's VA Clinic after Hershey, we show a small token of gratitude for the true American hero he was. "As a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, a father, mentor, and friend, Hershey's legacy represents the very best of New Mexico. From his time serving our country, to working in the community of Gallup, his work ethic and selflessness was admired by all who were fortunate enough to know him." Today, the clinic serves nearly 1,800 veterans.
A New Mexico delegation successfully prevented the VA from closing the Gallup clinic in June 2022.