WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018
Jackson County has been recognized for its dedication and support honoring America’s combat wounded veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart.
The Patriot Members of the Department of Missouri Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) designated the county as the 41st Purple Heart County during a ceremony Monday at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr., received a plaque during the ceremony from Ted Knox, Sr., Senior Vice Commander of the MOPH.
“It is an honor and privilege for Jackson County to have the designation of Purple Heart County. Our military heroes mean the world to us and many have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We can never forget that, so we make it a priority to support, recognize and honor every chance we get our military veterans,” White said. “Jackson County is committed to doing its part to provide access and services, housing and jobs for our military members and their families and now as a Purple Heart County our community and our country will know how much we care.”
White also thanked all of the veterans and Purple Heart recipients. “You never gave up on us and we will never give up on you. Thank you for your service and thank you for this recognition we look forward to making things happen for our veterans in Jackson County.”
Jackson County Legislator, Crystal Williams, 2nd District At-Large, presented a resolution proclaiming Jackson County as a Purple Heart County. The resolution was recently passed by the County Legislature.
According to the resolution, “The Purple Heart was the first American Service Award or decoration made available to the common soldier and specifically to members of the United States armed forces who have been wounded or who made the ultimate sacrifice in combat. Jackson County has a long history of men and women veterans who have paid the high price of freedom by leaving their families, friends and homes and placing themselves in harm’s way to secure liberty for all of our citizens. Many men and women in uniform have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives while serving in the armed forces.”
The resolution also stated, “Jackson County seeks to remember and recognize all veterans especially those from Jackson County who are recipients of the Purple Heart by displaying the signs at each courthouse and throughout the county.”
Williams said that signs designating Jackson County as a Purple Heart County would be placed around the courthouses, parks and other places of that nature in order to allow Purple Heart recipients to have easier access to some of these facilities.
Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, said that the Purple Heart is a tradition that comes from WWI so it was appropriate that the presentation was held at the memorial.
“It is fitting that our partner in this work, Jackson County be honored as a Purple Heart County. The home of the Nation’s memorial so designating it as a Purple Heart County we are honored that would occur here at the nation’s museum and memorial honoring those who served in WWI,” Naylor said.
The Purple Heart Tuck Run Celebration was held in conjunction with the county designation.
Sponsored jointly by Wounded Warriors Family Support and MOPH, the Purple Heart Run features a mobility-equipped, 2018 Ford F-150 truck, adapted to suit combat-wounded veterans who are paralyzed or have lost legs or arms.
John Bircher III, National Director of Public Relations for Military Order of the Purple Heart, said the Purple Heart Truck Run has two purposes, “One is to show that mobility is freedom.”
Often, after recovery and rehabilitation from surgery veterans find themselves at home sitting on the couch with nothing to do, Bircher said. “They don’t have to be confined to their home anymore. It’s a great thing mobility is freedom.”
“The second purpose is to let the local chapter get some publicity. Often time’s people don’t realize we have a Purple Heart chapter in the community and they are doing wonderful things in the community. Also to reach out to local Purple Heart recipients and let them know that there is an organization for them,” he said.
Driven by a combat wounded and disabled veterans, the Purple Heart Truck is making its way from Mt. Vernon, Virginia to Spokane, Washington. The Purple Heart Run will take about 40 days to complete the 8,000 mile trip, traveling approximately 250 miles per day. At the end of the run the keys to the truck will be presented to a disabled Purple Heart recipient, selected from a nationwide search for eligible nominees. Along the way, the Purple Heart Truck will often be accompanied by a motorcycle escort which can be joined by local veteran motorcycle clubs. The team will stop to give publicity for local MOPH Chapters and Purple Heart entities who will host an appropriate welcoming ceremony.