A heart in need

27 Jul 2007 | Sgt. Lukas M. Atwell

From the days of the Revolutionary War to the current Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, service members have made sacrifices of life and limb in order to preserve the safety and freedom of America. Those service members who are wounded in combat with opposing forces are awarded the Purple Heart Medal.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart is a national organization of wounded veterans who advocate for the rights of all veterans whether wounded or not, said retired Gunnery Sgt. Walt Laban, a member of the order and veteran of Vietnam and the Korean War.

The local chapter of the order is currently taking donations to help place a monument in downtown Beaufort dedicated to those who have served.

“The monument will represent the sacrifices of thousands of men and women who have earned the Purple Heart,” said retired Army Col. James Bradin. “It will also honor the sacrifices made by their families.”

The 5-foot-6-inch monument will cost nearly $6,000 and would be located near the traffic light at the foot of the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge, Bradin explained.

“We looked at a few local parks and finally decided to put the monument near the light so everyone could see it,” Bradin said.

“We also chose to place the monument in Beaufort because of the large community of veterans living here,” Laban explained.

The order has already raised more than $2,000 from local businesses and private donations and hopes to raise the rest of the money by the end of this year.

“The donations will cover the cost of making the monument, transporting it from New Jersey and erecting it here,” Bradin said. “Donations of any amount will be greatly appreciated.”

Donation checks may be made out to the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Donations can be mailed to William Carlson, 16 Sunrise Blvd., Beaufort, S.C. 29907.