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Borough street renamed for hometown hero

by Joan Hellyer

U.S. Army Sgt. James E. Boorman died more than 50 years ago in the Vietnam War, and his selfless sacrifice has never been forgotten by his family and the residents of his native Hulmeville Borough.

Town members paid tribute to the hometown hero recently by joining with Boorman family members and area veterans and dignitaries to dedicate a borough street in his honor.

The solemn ceremony took place September 29th not far from the Neshaminy Creek at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and the side road previously known at different times as Praul Street or Beaver Street. Following its dedication, it is now called Sgt. James E. James Boorman Avenue.

“It is important what you are dong here today,” Dan Fraley, director of Bucks County’s military affairs, said before the sign bearing Boorman’s name was unveiled. “You have kept his memory alive.”

James began his tour of duty in the war zone in January 1967 and died three months later on April 27th, 1967 from hostile fire while battling in Tay Ninh Province in South Vietnam.

The Neshaminy graduate, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant, was four months shy of his 21st birthday at the time of his death.

He is buried in the nearby Beechwood Cemetery on the other side of Neshaminy Creek in Bensalem.

Michael Boorman was seven-years-old when his older brother, Jimmy, paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war.

The Hulmeville resident has fond memories of his big brother racing motorcycles before he went to the war zone.

Michael says the memories of his adventurous brother have helped him deal with Jimmy’s loss over the past five-plus decades and now the street dedication will too.

“It’s overwhelming,” Michael Boorman said after the ceremony. “It’s a long time coming. I am just glad (the street dedication) turned out the way it did.”

Hulmeville Councilman Ed Preston spearheaded the effort to have the street renamed in Boorman’s honor.

“These guys didn’t get much recognition when they came home,” Ed said. “It is nice to see him honored now.”  

Boorman’s nephew, Kirk Boorman of Lower Southampton, was two years old when his uncle was killed in Vietnam, so all of his memories of “Uncle Jimmy” are just of what was told to him about the Boorman family hero.

Like his Uncle Michael, Kirk was moved by the street-naming tribute for his late Uncle Jimmy.

“I think of all the guys that didn’t make it back, that didn’t get home,” Kirk said as he reflected on the ceremony. “We all owe them a debt.”

PHOTO CAP: Brothers Mike Drummond (left) and Fran Drummond, a Vietnam War veteran (right), after they unveiled the Sgt. James E. Boorman Avenue sign during its dedication ceremony in Hulmeville on September 29th. Photo by Joan Hellyer.