Every year, Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns honors Purple Heart recipients, adding them to the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit on Purple Heart Day, Aug. 7.
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Kearns was unable to host such a large gathering. Instead, he began honoring Purple Heart veterans via a safer method Monday.
As part of “Purple Heart Week” – and leading up to Purple Heart Day, Kearns is personally delivering certificates and lawn signs to Purple Heart veterans and/or their families with the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
“We recognize Purple Heart Day on Aug., 7, one of our oldest military honors that we can give to the brave men and women who serve our country,” Kearns said. “When I became the Erie County clerk, something that I was surprised about is that there was no recognition. There was no record. The clerk's office is the keeper of the records for many, many documents, but here in Erie County, there was no record of our great and brave men and women who are Purple Heart, veterans.”
This is now the third year for the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Merit.
Kearns’ first stop was at the new Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial at the corner of Grand Island Boulevard and Baseline Road on Grand Island. He presented a certificate to Ray DeGlopper, nephew to Medal of Honor recipient Charles DeGlopper.
Russell Ward, a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, had a prepared statement that read, “Once again we gather to honor all races, genders, nationalities and ages of Americans who have been killed or wounded in combat of America’s Wars. This year we had several more Purple Heart recipients to Erie County Purple Heart merit book that is on display at Erie County hall.
“The newly added recipients will also receive a special notification sign so that they or their families can post the signs on their front lines to announce that a person in the household has given their life or has been wounded in combat of war while defending our precious American principles and freedoms of this greatest country in the world.
“As we know and all citizens should know, the Purple Heart Medal has origins dating all the way back to the beginnings of our country during the Revolutionary War. We think Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns and his staff for all their tireless efforts to continuously honor all Purple Heart recipients of Erie County.”
Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns presents a Purple Heart certificate to Ray DeGlopper.
Kearns and Town of Grand Island Supervisor John C. Whitney.
Kearns helps Russell Ward plant a Purple Heart sign.