By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE - At a recent meeting of the Florida League of Cities, Port St. Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella heard about an initiative for the 10 largest cities in the state to become Purple Heart cities.
At that moment, she knew it was something she wanted to support.
"This is their honor, and they deserve it," she said.
At the Oct. 22 city council meeting city's staff hard work resulted in almost four dozen veterans being recognized for their service to the country.
The city will now officially recognize U.S. military veterans who were awarded the Purple Heart medallion after being injured during combat. The city will keep a list of residents who have earned the award, and will officially recognize them during "Purple Heart Day" on Aug. 7 every year.
The Purple Heart is also known as the badge of military merit, and was established by Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
"It took a lot of work to put this together," Mayor Faiella said. "This is just a small thank you."
At the city meeting, as their names were called, each Purple Heart recipient who lives in Port St. Lucie stood and was recognized. Some recipients have died, and their family members were recognized. Later, a small group stood with the mayor for a commemorative photo.
The Purple Heart recipients recognized were:
Thomas Accardi, Adam Bailey, Paul Beagle, Biasetti Ernest, Alfred Birch (deceased), Budy Robert, Bernard Bright, David Brown, Buck Walter, Joseph Carlisi, Craig Thomas, Joseph Wilcox, Gerald Lind, Michael Verdi, Eugene Martino, Edwin Williams, Rick Chess, Raymond Carter, Geoffrey Davis, Willard Coleman, John Colucco (deceased), John Cruz, Stephen Deporter (deceased), Edwin Diaz, Jerry Dale Dillard, Ramond Doktorki, Joseph Germani, Harry Harrison, David Hassler, Jerome Hatch, Edward Hughes, Peter King, Albert Landry, Richard Lavigne, Jose Mateo, Neil Nappi, Harold Newman, Israel Schulman, Harold Stambaugh, Angelo Troccoli, Joseph Wilcox, Harry Williams (deceased), Daniel Witts, Jeffrey Zwemke, Benny William, John Jurceka, Michael Kiper, Richard Eckart, Gregg Mann and Charles Yates.
But the city's efforts won't stop there.
"If we missed anyone, please come forward and give us your name," said Mayor Faiella. "We want to put you on our list so we can recognize you in the future. We will never forget."
For more information, call the city at (772) 871-5159.