Grove City honors Purple Heart recipients

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Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
The city of Grove City held its annual observance of National Purple Heart Day from Aug. 5 to Aug. 9 at the Purple Heart Memorial Walk in Henceroth Park. Throughout those five days, dozens of residents and non-residents alike walked the path of heroes as they remembered the men and women who were wounded or killed in combat while serving in the United States Armed Forces. On Friday morning, the city held a special ceremony to pay homage to the families of the fallen and to honor the area’s living recipients of the Purple Heart Medal. Among those wounded veterans who received recognition at the event were Bernie Ryznar, John Flinn, Mikel Rhodes, Bill Purdy, John Kruetzkamp, and Eldon Erlembach (pictured from left to right in the second row) and Korean War veteran John Kelly (seated in front). Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage and the ceremony’s attendees thanked them for their service and sacrifice.
Brent Casey, the grandson of the late Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, stands before the tree that was planted in his grandfather’s honor alongside Mayor Stage, shown holding Williams’ medal. Williams was considered a friend of the city and was instrumental in the creation of the city’s Gold Star Family Memorial Monument. The World War II veteran and United States Marine Corps Reserve warrant officer died on June 29, 2022.
Members of Girl Scout Troop 5963 handed out flags and programs and thanked the veterans for their service at the Aug. 5 ceremony. Pictured from left to right are Troop Leader Tracy Coutler and Girl Scouts Angela Bowerman, Alex Reece, Gracie Ratliff, Kelsey Kennedy, Isabella Norwood and Josephine Bowerman. Coutler said the troop has been volunteering at this event since its inception.
The Honor Guard at the American Legion Post 164 perform a 21-gun salute during the ceremony.

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