MALONE –– Malone became Franklin County’s first Purple Heart Community Thursday, joining a group of municipalities throughout the nation along the symbolic Purple Heart Trail.
Designating Malone as a Purple Heart Community pays tribute to U.S. service members who have been injured or killed in combat and is also meant to demonstrate the community’s support for veteran-related legislative initiatives.
Until Thursday, the town of Plattsburgh was the nearest Purple Heart Community to Franklin County; they also exist in 45 states and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.
A brief proclamation ceremony Thursday at the Village Hall drew roughly 20 residents and members of local veterans organizations.
The proclamation was read by Town Supervisor Andrea Stewart, who joined Mayor Joe Riccio in signing copies of the documents before presenting them to local vets.
The ceremony was also attended by Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, who has been a longtime advocate for north country veterans. Last year, he voted to extend the Hire a Veteran Tax Credit to help returning vets find jobs with local businesses.
The Purple Heart is the oldest extant military decoration, awarded to those wounded or killed in combat action. It was first introduced as the Badge of Military Merit during the Revolutionary War by George Washington, who is featured on the medal.