Wrentham to be Recognized as a Purple Heart Community Medal Recipients Asked to Contact Local Veterans Services Office
By Angela Weicherding-Fitton
Wrentham, home to 500 veterans, is becoming a Purple Heart community.
The designation means the town recognizes the sacrifice of people who have served their country, particularly those who are Purple Heart recipients and their families. As a Purple Heart community, there will be signs on all main roads leading into or out of Wrentham, including Route 140, Route 1A, and Route 152. The signs will serve as a visual reminder to drivers that others have paid a high price for their freedom.
Veterans Agent Stephen Travers handles veteran support services for North Attleboro, Plainville and Wrentham. He’s working with Wrentham Assistant Town Administrator Greg Enos on the effort to designate Wrentham as a Purple Heart community.
“I’m pleasantly surprised by the ways that Massachusetts honors its Purple Heart recipients,” Travers said, while discussing the project. “Some towns have parking assigned specifically for Purple Heart recipients. There are Purple Heart specialty plates available at no cost through the DMV and those folks have no annual registration renewal costs.”
Travers said that Purple Heart recipients don’t look for recognition, noting he is a veteran who retired five years ago.
“In general, Massachusetts treats all its veterans great, but Purple Heart recipients are extra special,” he said. “We recognize Purple Heart recipients as the wounded that made it home. They are the heroes that walk among us, most without us even knowing.”
In 1782, George Washington issued the first ever Purple Heart. It was considered a Military Badge of Merit, which was a simple heart made from purple cloth. One hundred and sixty years later, in 1942, the Purple Heart, now a medal, became an award for military personnel who had been wounded in combat. However, the Purple Heart is not limited to members of the military any longer; civilians wounded in combat are also eligible for the medal.
Travers, who used to be a recruiter, also pointed out that 2023 marks 50 years since the military became an all-volunteer organization. This means that every member of the military now is a man or woman willing to put everything on the line for our freedoms. The last war to have draftees was the Vietnam War.
There is currently no database or way to perform an online query to determine who has received a Purple Heart. Wrentham veterans who are Purple Heart recipients are urged to contact Travers at (508) 699-0100 if they’d like to participate in upcoming events.
Any Wrentham veteran in need of support or services can also contact Travers.