PRESTON, Minn. (KTTC) – Over the years, the community of Preston has worked to support local veterans in a variety of ways. It has the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, plans for a new veterans home and now, adding one more thing on on the list.
Monday night at city hall, city leaders declared Preston a “Purple Heart City,” joining about a dozen other Minnesota communities with that title.
It’s one the oldest medals given by the U.S. military – service members killed or wounded in combat earn the Purple Heart.
“Its a very small group compared to the VFW or the legion or the marine corp league, its small group,” the Rochester Military of the Purple Heart Chapter Adjutant Harry Kerr said.
“If it wasn’t for them kind of people we wouldn’t be here today,” Preston Mayor Kurt Riecks said.
The community of Preston added itself to the list of the few officially showing support for those military members. The designation is part of a national initiative of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
“It just fits,” Kerr said. “Preston is that typical small town america back bone of american freedom that supports those who serve.”
“We’ve been working at being a very veteran community here, we have the veteran cemetery, now we want to appreciate all of the purple hearts here in the state,” Mayor Kerr added.
Soon the city will have Purple Heart signage on ends of town.
“By seeing the signs somebody might ask somebody, ‘I have a purple heart how do I get a hold of them?’ Finding an active chapter that I can belong to and relate to and get help from,” Kerr said.
And in turn, may lead to support and recovery.
“They may not talk to their friend about it, because he or she doesn’t understand. But they get around peers that have gone through similar incidents and it helps with the stress and the recovery.”
Dodge County will join in its ranks as a Purple Heart Community in August.
The Rochester Military of the Purple Heart Chapter meets every third Thursday of the month at the VFW at 6 p.m.