• National Purple Heart Day: Recognizing heroes

    By: Jason Solowski , Mark Ockerbloom

    Updated:

    August 7 is National Purple Heart Day. A day to recognize the brave men and women wounded or killed in combat while serving our country.

    A brotherhood like no other, four purple heart recipients spoke with Boston 25 News about what this day means to them.

    "Not to be offensive, but these guys will tell you that you go in and it's the one medal essentially no one wants,” said Kurt Power, an army veteran wounded by sniper fire while serving in Iraq. "I'm lucky to be alive."

    Francisco Urena is secretary for the Department of Veteran Services for Massachusetts. He was also a United States Marine Corp tank commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    "I was exposed. My head was there when a vehicle exploded. I thought it was sweat, so I placed my hand up to my face. I look down and I'm bleeding," said Urena.

    Marine Corp Veteran Tony Molina was the first Puerto Rican American wounded in Vietnam.

    "I was ambushed. A sniper shot me in the head and I spent three-and-a-half months in the hospital," said Molina.

    Marine Corps veteran Chad Shevlin was in Iraq when a rocket-propelled grenade hit him in the face.

    "It hit me in the jaw and disintegrated my jaw. Then I sat down in the vehicle and my guys started yelling that I was dead and I had to grab one of them and give them a thumbs up,” said Shevlin.

    They want people to know why August 7 is so important.

    "Purple Heart Day is such a special day, not only for purple heart recipients, I think it's for our families,” said Molina.

    “August 7 is also a special day, two years ago my daughter was born, so it's always a reminder of how beautiful life is that I have this opportunity now to share the day with her,” said Urena.

    "It's a day to put us all in check and make us realize that sacrifices that people have given and to live life to the fullest and to keep going,” said Shevlin.

    They also give back to the community, even after giving so much. "Finding a way to help others, really is a way to heal,” said Urena. It’s their way to remember those who gave even more.

    "We all know that as Purple Heart recipients that we owe it to the guys that didn't make it to do what we can to make the world a better place,” said Power.

    Coming Home: Helping veterans transition to the civilian workforce

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