WAKE FOREST — Members of the Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation are gearing up for their fifth annual show of appreciation of hometown heroes.
Each year, the committee recognizes area soldiers and veterans who have earned a Purple Heart, having served and been wounded or killed in battle since 1917, as well as their families.
This year’s event takes place Saturday, Aug. 10, at 5:30 p.m. at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $15 apeice.
“The American Legion and VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) hold events for Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but we wanted to do something to say thanks to those who fought for our country, were wounded and shed blood for our country,” said Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation Chairman Greg Harrington. “It’s important to honor these men and women.”
The event includes dinner and recognition for all Purple Heart recipients in Wake and Franklin counties, as well as the surrounding areas. Purple Heart recipients who have died will be represented by family members. Last year, more than 50 Purple Heart recipients attended the event.
Already, nearly 40 veterans plan to participate in this year’s dinner. They include those who have served in conflicts ranging from World War II, Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year, World War II veterans, regardless if they’ve earned a Purple Heart or not, will also be saluted. Harrington said the committee decided it was important to express appreciation to them as well because they are “dying out quickly.”
This year’s guest speaker is Command Sgt. Major Francis Debois, a Purple Heart recipient, who currently serves in the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 4th Brigade Combat Team in Fort Bragg. His deployments include Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Korea and Iraq. His most recent service was deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom from February to September of last year.
The Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation strives to honor veterans and allow the community an opportunity to express appreciation for their service. The Foundation’s efforts have been noticed by other towns who have modeled their own events after Wake Forest’s dinner.
In order to make the evening possible, donations and sponsorships are needed to foot the cost, which totals $12,000-$15,000. Novant Health has agreed to be the grand sponsor. Other designations include Red for $100; White for $250 or Blue for $500. Sponsors receive a designated number of tickets to the event as well as their name in the program and media advertisements.
Sponsorship checks should be made payable to the Wake Forest Purple Heart Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 168, Wake Forest, NC 27588.
For more information about tickets or sponsors, contact committee member Lisa Newhouse by calling 919-650-9049 or e-mailing info@WakeForestPurpleHeartFoundation.org. More information is also available at WakeForestPurpleHeartFoundation.org.