Purple Heart trail

Purple Heart recipients U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer David Hill, who served in Vietnam, and Robert Hunt, a U.S. Staff Sgt. E-5, who served in conflicts and assignments in the Philippines, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other regions were among veterans like United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Jerry Briscoe, U.S. Navy E-4 George Blaha, U.S. Marine Gary Holm, and U.S. Navy E-3 Elvis Morris who came out to mark the occasion and show their support for DeSoto County being designated as a "Purple Heart County."

Robert Long|DTT

DeSoto County can now proclaim another distinction along with a long list of other accomplishments.

The state's fastest-growing county and one of its most patriotic approved a proclamation that declares DeSoto County as a "Purple Heart County," one of an increasing number in the state.

DeSoto County Supervisors are working out the details but plans call for naming Church Road as the county's "Purple Heart Trail."

District 4 Supervisor Lee Caldwell, wife of retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. John Caldwell, suggested that U.S. Hwy. 61 on the west be tied into the trail which could also connect to State Hwy. 305 on the east, in order that the trail be connected.

Mike Brown, an organizer of the effort, said there are now more than 79 "Purple Heart" cities in the state. He and Chris Vandenbrook appeared before supervisors about an upcoming event they were organizing to honor veterans.

"We will be escorting the veterans from the VFW in Southaven to the "Honoring Our Troops Golf Classic event at Olive Branch Country Club next month," Brown said. "The Patriot Guard Riders group will be providing the escort."

Vandenbrook is general manager of Bunzl, the corporate sponsor of the fund raiser and the event's co-chairman.

"We would like to make this a community event," Vandenbrook said.

By a stroke of the pen, DeSoto County was designated as a "Purple Heart County" at Monday's DeSoto County Board of Supervisors meeting.

To officially recognize the occasion, several veterans and at least two Purple Heart designees were on hand at Monday's meeting.

Purple Heart recipients U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer David Hill, who served in Vietnam, and Robert Hunt, a U.S. Staff Sgt. E-5, who served in conflicts and assignments in the Philippines, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other regions were among veterans like United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Jerry Briscoe, U.S. Navy E-4 George Blaha, U.S. Marine Gary Holm, and U.S. Navy E-3 Elvis Morris who came out to mark the occasion and show their support.

"I was approached last year to participate in this fund raiser," said Hunt, referring to the "Honor Our Troops Classic Golf Tournament" slated to be held Sept. 28-29 at the Olive Branch Country Club honoring veterans and benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project and the Walter Reed Society. "We were overwhelmed by the support we were shown."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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