By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCTV) — Late Thursday, the United States Congress approved legislation to rename the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Center in Tallahassee in honor of Marine Corps Sgt. Enrest "Boots" Thomas.
The center is located at 2181 Orange Avenue.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Representative Al Lawson (D-FL) and was approved unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law. It gained Senate approval in February.
"Sergeant Thomas is an American hero," Sen. Nelson said when he introduced the bill. "I can think of no more fitting tribute to his extraordinary service to our country than the renaming of this VA clinic in his honor."
“Sgt. Ernest ‘Boots’ Thomas exemplified selflessness and courage throughout his service, and I am proud to honor his legacy with the renaming of the VA clinic,” Rep. Lawson said.
Thomas, a Florida native, was posthumously presented the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism during action in World War II and was part of the original American flag raising atop Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi in 1945. He first joined the Marines in 1942 shortly after the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor.
He was killed in action on March 3, 1945, just days after the now-famous flag raising on Iwo Jima.
A copy of the bill is available here.