Polk to be proclaimed a “Purple Heart County”
Posted on August 3rd, 2012 by Rebecca Thompson
A Purple Heart is a medal of honor awarded to military members wounded in the line of duty. Criterion includes a member who receives serious injuries incurred during the course of criminal apprehension or life-saving efforts.
In an effort to come together and show support for countywide Purple Heart recipients and to acknowledge their courage, the Board of County Commissioners will proclaim Polk County as one of the nation’s first Purple Heart Counties. Only a few counties nationwide have already done so.
“Polk County has one of the largest veteran populations in Florida, being home to over 51,000 veterans, with many of these soldiers having been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat,” said Mike Mason, Polk County supervisor of veterans services. “Being the county located in the heart of Florida and having the utmost respect for our veterans, I am proud of our Board of County Commissioners for choosing to make Polk County one of only four Purple Heart Counties in the United States.”
The proclamation will be read by the Polk County BoCC at 9:00 a.m. on Florida’s Purple Heart Day, Tuesday, August 7, in the Neil Combee Administration Building located at 330 West Church Street in Bartow. Companies are encouraged to offer special recognition, discounts, coupons, etc. to recipients on August 7.
Winter Haven American Legion Post 8 will also host a dinner to honor all Polk veterans awarded the Purple Heart Medal on Saturday, August 11 at 5:00 p.m. The dinner is free to all recipients and just $10 for all American Legion and VFW members. The Post is located at 300 Avenue M, N.W. Call 863-293-7029 for tickets.
Seven medal recipients will be featured on a photographic billboard to be wrapped around a Winter Haven Area Transit bus. The seven recipients include: Jacob Kaelbi, 78, Bartow; Jose Sanchez, 43, Lakeland; Ed Cameron, 60, Lake Wales; Tom Seitzinger, 69, Winter Haven; Anthony Nicholsen, 62, Lakeland; Harold D. Lamb, 83, Lakeland; and Al Meehan, 81, Lake Alfred. The bus will be revealed at a ceremony on August 11 at 10 a.m. at Veteran’s Park on the western side of The Lakeland Center.
Several other celebratory events are scheduled to take place around the county on Saturday, August 11, including a ground-breaking announcement for a memorial to be constructed in Lakeland honoring the county’s Purple Heart recipients. For more information please visit the county’s website by clicking here.
Polk County BoCC is asking for your help to celebrate county military heroes by contributing your story of how you or a family member earned the Purple Heart to collect and share with the community. Share your story!