AVON — Town Administrator Gregory S. Enos and Veterans Service Officer Dale Kurtz are pleased to announce that the Town of Avon hosted a ceremony Friday morning, Aug. 7, to recognize the town being named a Purple Heart Community.
The town received its Purple Heart Community designation earlier this summer, by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization for combat wounded veterans that works on legislative initiatives and provides services for veterans and their families.
“We are here today on Aug. 7, which is national Purple Heart Day, a day when we honor the more than 500,000 living veterans who are Purple Heart recipients,” Officer Kurtz said. “We especially want to thank and acknowledge the Avon veterans who have earned this distinction. Being named a Purple Heart Community is a very special honor for the Town of Avon, as it is yet another way of honoring its veterans for their service.”
Two Avon Purple Heart recipients received citations at the event: Spc. Timothy R. Plaisted, who served in the U.S. Army from 2005-10, and Sgt. Robert A. Ogilvie, who served in the U.S. Air Force, including four years during the Vietnam War.
Sen. Walter Timilty read citations from the State Senate commending Spc. Plaisted and Sgt. Ogilvie. Rep. William Galvin also spoke, thanking the veterans for their service and saying a citation from the Massachusetts House will be delivered to the town at a later date.
Officer Kurtz presented Avon Board of Selectmen Chair Steven P. Rose with the official proclamation naming Avon a Purple Heart Community. A Purple Heart flag was also raised outside of the Town Hall, which will be flown for 24 hours in honor of Avon’s Purple Heart recipients.
“I would like to thank Spc. Plaisted and Sgt. Ogilvie for their service, as well as all of the other Purple Heart recipients both here in Avon and beyond,” Town Administrator Enos said. “Whenever anyone drives into Avon they will see the Purple Heart Community signs we have hung up, and know that they are entering a town that honors its veterans for everything they have given in support of their country.”
Pastor Ken Knott from Grace Church of Avon gave a blessing to conclude the ceremony.
“It is powerful to see the support for combat wounded veterans that the Town of Avon frequently shows,” said Kurt Power, the Massachusetts State Services Officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “It is an honor to be here at a ceremony like this.”
About the Purple Heart Designation:
Town Administrator Enos, Officer Kurtz and Town of Avon Selectman Eric Beckerman worked to establish the town as a Purple Heart Community after being approached by a resident whose husband was a Purple Heart recipient.
To begin the process of receiving the designation, the town had to identify Avon veterans who received a Purple Heart. After ensuring the town had met the qualifications to become a Purple Heart Community, a proclamation was drafted and presented to the Avon Board of Selectmen to declare the town a Purple Heart Community.
Becoming a Purple Heart Community also means the Town of Avon will join the Purple Heart Trail, a national network of roads, bridges, highways and other monuments and trails honoring service members who have received the Purple Heart.
The Purple Heart medal is presented to U.S. military service members who have been wounded or killed by enemy fire. It was originally awarded by George Washington in 1782 to recognize meritorious service in combat. It is the nation’s oldest and one of the most distinguished military awards.
Avon residents who are Purple Heart recipients are encouraged to contact Veterans Services Officer Kurtz at 508-613-1315 so the town can add them to a registry as a way to recognize and honor their service.