BELLEVILLE, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today joined Congressmen Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) and Albio Sires (N.J.-08), U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and local officials, and the family of Medal of Honor recipient Henry Svehla for a dedication ceremony naming the Belleville Post Office in the Korean War vet’s honor. Private First Class Svehla was killed in action when he heroically threw himself upon a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers.
“Every time people walk through the doors of the Private Henry Svehla Post Office Building, they will walk through a living monument to a great American who grew up right here in Belleville and believed in our greatest values, a young man who went to war so that others might be free and, who in the midst of battle, gave his own life so that others might live,” said Sen. Menendez. “May God Bless America and the life of Henry Svehla.”
Sen. Menendez authored the law naming the Belleville Post Office on Washington Ave. after Private Svehla. During he ceremony, the Senator presented the family with a certificate and American flag he and Sen. Booker had flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor or Private Svehla. May is also Military Appreciation Month.
“Today’s dedication of the ‘Private Henry Svehla Post Office Building’ is a testament of respect to Private Svehla from an eternally grateful nation,” said Sen. Booker, an original co-sponsor of the legislation. “Through his life of service, Private Svehla embodied the spirit of America and it’s fitting that his legacy will be honored in this way.”
Henry Svehla, who was born in Newark and lived for a time in Belleville, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism in the act that cost him his life in the Korean War. When an enemy grenade landed among a group of his comrades, Private First Class Svehla, without hesitation and undoubtedly aware of extreme danger, threw himself upon the grenade. Decades later, in a review of his action, his award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor and presented in 2011 to his surviving family members.
“This post office in Belleville earns another large mission today: to be a proud reminder… and to be a worthy reflection of Private Svehla,” said USPS Northern N.J. District Manager Michael Deignan.
Private Svehla’s nephew, Anthony Svehla, Anthony’s wife and children, Belleville Mayor Michael Melham, State Senator Teresa Ruiz, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, Assemblywoman Shaique Speight, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Morgan, U.S. Army Captain Adrienne M. Smith, American Legion Post 150 Honor Guard, and Belleville High School Choir also attended the ceremony.
September 16, 2021
September 15, 2021