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The Military Order of the Purple Heart
Purple Heart Medal

Neil Van Ess

National Commander

The election of Neil Van Ess, a former law enforcement officer and police Captain in New Jersey, with extensive Union negotiation responsibilities, brings a new depth of experience to the position of National Commander of the Order.

Patriot Van Ess served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1970, and was assigned to Company C, 3/506th,101st Airborne Division. In 1968 he was deployed to Vietnam with the 101st and during a combat operation was wounded in August 1968, for which he received the Purple Heart Medal.

Beginning in 1982, after receiving Bachelor and Master Degrees in Criminal Justice, Patriot Van Ess entered into law enforcement with the Totawa Police Department. He quickly advanced through the ranks in the Department and, after serving as Detective Bureau Commander, in 2010 was promoted to the position of Captain Patrol Commander, capping a distinguished 30-year career.

Devoting himself to the community, he served on the Totowa Board of Education from 1986 to 2005, including 12 years as President of the Board, and served as Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse for 6 years.

Patriot Van Ess and his wife Louisa live in Totowa, New jersey. He is the proud father of two grown children.

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