07/15/13 — Purple Heart veterans sought for annual banquet

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Purple Heart veterans sought for annual banquet

By Staff Reports
Published in News on July 15, 2013 1:49 PM

A banquet to honor veterans who have earned the Purple Heart will be held Aug. 6 at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church.

It is being sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and all veterans who have earned the honor, and their families, are invited.

Aug. 7 is National Purple Heart Day and the event is being planned in conjunction with the nationwide recognition of military personnel who have been wounded in the line of duty.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Benjamin Seekell will be the keynote speaker at the Aug. 6 banquet, which will start at 7 p.m., after a reception at 6. Seekell lost a leg to an explosive device in Afghanistan in February 2011 but has recovered and is still serving his country.

"This is just a way to honor all of Wayne County's wounded warriors," said Bill Graham, past chairman of the Goldsboro-Wayne County chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and a member of the board of directors of the North Carolina Purple Heart Foundation.

Graham said he and other members of the organization are urging all veterans who have received the Purple Heart and their families to attend. But organizers of the event need to hear from the veterans to get an estimate of how many people will attend.

"We want to get in touch with them so we can have a chance to honor them," Graham said.

The event is also open to the public, to anyone who wants to show their appreciation, he noted. But there is a limited supply of tickets.

To learn more about the banquet, and how to obtain tickets, people can call Graham at 919-394-2200 or Al Greene, chairman of the Wayne County Purple Heart Foundation, at 919-242-5423. Tickets are $20.

Goldsboro has been designated a Purple Heart City by the national organization and Graham said the paperwork has been submitted to earn Wayne County the same distinction.

This is the second year that the banquet has been held and Graham said organizers hope to make it an annual event. Last year, more than 50 Purple Heart recipients were recognized.

Members of local Junior ROTC units will be on hand to salute the veterans. Also featured will be singer Jimmy Fortune, formerly of the Statler Brothers, who will perform Aug. 5 at the Paramount Theatre. He will sing several songs at the banquet, Graham said.