By Ron Gregory
LOGAN — The city of Logan has been designated the first Purple Heart City in West Virginia and officials were on hand Friday evening to recognize the accomplishment.
Third District Congressman Nick Rahall, a Democrat, joined Logan Mayor Serafino Nolletti in recognizing members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart for their service during the event held at Logan City Hall. While the city received the honor some time ago, Rahall said this was the first public ceremony recognizing the distinction.
“You may well have been among the first to proclaim yourselves a Purple Heart City, but I certainly hope you are not the last,” Rahall told those gathered along with veterans of Logan’s Chapter 733 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “Because such a proclamation not only sends an important message about the values we share, it sends the right message for not only town residents to take pride in, but a sound message to our young.”
The long-time congressman also provided copies of the Congressional Record from July 3, during which Rahall recognized Logan’s proclamation designating it as a Purple Heart City.
“On the eve of America’s Independence Day celebration, I told my colleagues in Congress and the American people that although July Fourth was the day Congress declared independence, it was George Washington and his troops who won our freedom, and it has been our men and women in uniform who have maintained and kept us free ever since. That’s why Mayor Nolletti’s proclamation, the Purple Heart designation, is such an important beacon, the right signal we should be sending out for all to see and learn from the lessons of your service and sacrifice,” Rahall said.
“Many times I have had the high honor of presenting the Purple Heart to my fellow West Virginians. And I am planning to do so again next month,” he said. “Without exception, veterans are as humble in accepting this award as they were meritorious in their actions for which it was granted. To me, you represent the true heart of the American character.”
In keeping with the theme of humility shown by former servicemen, state Sen. Art Kirkendoll told the crowd of his experiences with his brother. Kirkendoll said his brother served in Vietnam and he, himself, volunteered to serve there as well. “But they wouldn’t let two brothers from one family serve like that then,” said the senator. He went on to say that his brother was awarded for heroism on the battlefield “but never would talk about it. He said he did what he was supposed to do; he didn’t want any recognition for doing it.”
All of those speaking commended the veterans present, including Charles Baisden and Troy L. Varney, for their dedication and service.
“Your selfless work is the very mortar that so securely binds our republic together,” Rahall said. “As a nation, we owe a tremendous debt to those who valiantly served and sacrificed with valor beneath Old Glory. The wounded warrior not only commands the honor and respect of this nation; he and she deserve our nation’s full commitment to the sacred contract we have with our veterans. As I told my colleagues in Congress, if the veterans and Purple Heart recipients in Logan have any say in the matter, the road to glory will always be open to all in a free United States of America.”
Those in attendance included representatives from the town of Chapmanville and Man Mayor Jim Blevins.