A statewide effort is underway to get all Rhode Island "Purple Heart" recipients recognized.
Matthew McCoy, the state adjutant for the Rhode Island Veterans of Foreign Wars, addresses the Town Council recently about recognizing Purple Heart recipients as State Reps. Terri Cortvriend (left) and Deborah Ruggiero (right) offer support.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 712-2221 or email@example.com
MIDDLETOWN LATEST “PURPLE HEART”
COMMUNITY IN RHODE ISLAND
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AUGUST 24, 2021) – The Town of Middletown is the latest “Purple Heart” community in Rhode Island.
Recently, Matthew McCoy approached the Town Council with the idea of having Middletown join the growing ranks of towns and cities across the Ocean State honoring those soldiers who have been wounded or made the ultimate sacrifice. McCoy is the state adjutant for the Rhode Island Veterans of Foreign Wars and has been leading the “Purple Heart” campaign across the state.
McCoy was joined by State Reps. Terri Cortvriend and Deborah Ruggiero, both who spoke highly of the effort to do whatever possible for Rhode Island’s combat soldiers.
“The intent was to recognize Rhode Island’s combat wounded and we have thousands of them here in the state,” McCoy said. “Most of them are unrecognized because there is direct roll of who has received a Purple Heart.”
In response, council members agreed, unanimously approving a resolution proclaiming Middletown as a “Purple Heart Town.”
“I think it’s great, any time we can recognize any veteran, especially ones who receive Purple Hearts,” council President Paul M. Rodrigues said.
Contrary to what some might think, the Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use. Initially, it was created as the Badge of Military Merit by General George Washington in 1782.
The resolution to the council indicated the Purple Heart was the first American service award or decoration available to the common soldier. It was specifically awarded to
members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were wounded or died in combat with a declared enemy of the United States.
McCoy said North Kingstown was the first community in the state that became recognized as a “Purple Heart Town.” From there, he’s said he’s in the process of getting similar resolutions adopted by councils and other elected boards across the state.
In response to a question from Councilwoman M. Theresa Santos, McCoy said it’s difficult to know how many people from Middletown have received one because there’s no central registry of Purple Hearts. Unlike some other medals, McCoy said it’s not one most people like to talk about because it involves an injury, sometimes fatal.
To help the community determine how many recipients there were in Middletown, McCoy suggested surviving Purple Heart soldiers reach out to the Town. For those who’ve passed away, McCoy said their family members could do the same with the proper paperwork. From there, McCoy said that information could be entered into a database.
“I appreciate you giving this consideration,” Cortvriend said.
“I just want to say ‘Thank you,’” Ruggiero said. “We appreciate your time and all the work you do for our veterans.”