U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (left) pins a Purple Heart on Army Sgt. Jason Bradway in an Aug. 12 ceremony recognizing Bradway’s service to the nation. The event was held at the Adirondack VFW Post 2475 in Glens Falls. Bradway suffered severe injuries Dec. 2010 in Afghanistan when a military vehicle he was driving struck a powerful explosive device.
U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Bradway of Queensbury, who has faced multiple challenges since he was seriously wounded in Afghanistan in 2010, received the Purple Heart award in a ceremony held Aug. 12 at the Adirondack V.F.W. Post 2475 in Glens Falls.
The award was presented by U.S. Rep. Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) in a ceremony attended by dozens of Bradway’s friends and family members, as well as military personnel and area dignitaries.
“This award is a testament to the bravery of Sgt. Bradway who demonstrated the finest character traits and persevered despite severe injuries,” Owens said. “This is a reminder that the greatest obligation we all have — individually and collectively — is to support our wounded soldiers and their families. Hopefully this day represents another step in the process of providing such support.”
VFW Post 2475 Commander Michael Hoag, who was awarded many years ago with a Purple Heart for bravery during the Viet Nam conflict, also called for people to provide Bradway with support, while praising the 32-year-old sergeant for his service.
“The Purple Heart is not a medal that is won like in a sports competition — This is a distinction of honor,” he said. “We all need to remember we have a moral and legal commitment to take care of our wounded veterans.”
Bradway, a quarterback on the Queensbury High School football team, worked long hours as a chef before he was deployed to Afghanistan to serve as a Combat Engineer due to his experience in construction and operating heavy equipment.
About five months after being sent to Afghanistan, Bradway was driving an all-terrain military transport vehicle on Dec. 7, 2010 in Kunduz when a 1,000-pound explosive device exploded under the driver’s side, injuring all the vehicle’s passengers. Bradway’s injuries were the most serious.
As a result of the blast, Jason suffered a traumatic brain injury, and multiple back and spine injuries. Due to the incident, Bradway also has experienced reduced use of both hands as well as post-traumatic stress disorder, according to information provided by the family.
“I’m very honored and humbled with this award,” Bradway said as the Owens pinned the Purple Heart to his uniform.
Bradway’s wife Amy watched the presentation. She herself incurred an injury just three days after her husband’s injury — she fell as she was carrying a bag of wood pellets up the stairs and broke her pelvis, an injury from which she is still recovering.
“Jason’s never been concerned with awards — he’s always felt that the ones that didn’t come home are the ones that deserve the medals,” she said. “Every day, he’s been grateful to have been able to come home and be with his family despite his injuries — and watch his boys grow up.”
The couple’s two boys, Jason Jr., 6 and Riley, 3, were present for the ceremony, dressed in suits and ties.
In accepting the award, Bradway deferred credit to others.
“I am very honored and humbled,” he said.
Crystal Bradway, Jason Sr.’s sister, offered her thoughts.
“I’m so proud of him and I respect him so much,”” she said. “I’m glad he came home safe — and I’m happy he’s getting this kind of support.”
Jason Bradway’s mother-in-law Brenda LeClair of Gansevoort said she was pleased the ceremony was well attended.
“Jason deserved to be recognized for the sacrifice he made for his family and country,” she said, noting how he routinely suffers painful migraine headaches along with his other ailments.
A long line of veterans, soldiers and citizens lined up to greet Bradway after the ceremony and thank him for his service.
“It’s an honor that all these people took time out of their day for this ceremony,” Bradway said as the event concluded. “But the true heroes are those who lost their lives or are still fighting. There’s quite a brotherhood among soldiers — if you haven’t been in combat, you can’t ever really know what it’s like.”