In naming the new Clinton Street bridge the “Purple Heart Bridge,” Defiance city officials honored veterans wounded in combat.
On Tuesday night, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization returned the favor.
The presentation during city council’s regular meeting kicked off a busy night when Mayor Mike McCann announced that the annual fireworks display will be returned to the confluence of the rivers, while a member of his administration announced a new policy on delinquent tax collections (see related story this page).
But first Bob Kroeger of Defiance’s VFW Post 3360 — appearing on behalf of national VFW commander William Schmitz — presented the city with special recognition for naming the new bridge the “Purple Heart Bridge” in honor of Purple Heart recipients.
First established by Gen. George Washington in 1782 during the Revolutionary War, the award honors veterans wounded in combat. According to Kroeger, just under two million Purple Heart awards have been made since the medal’s inception.
“It’s truly an honor and privilege to represent commander-in-chief William ‘Doc’ Schmitz of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America headquartered in Kansas, Mo. in presenting a special recognition to the city of Defiance for naming the new bridge Purple Heart Bridge,” said Kroeger. “I’d like to thank Darcy Lehman and Ryan Mack, both Purple Heart recipients who had a big hand in getting this project completed, along with Craig Riedel, our state representative, and Mayor McCann.”
Kroeger read the citation the VFW bestowed upon the city. It recognizes the city for “its dedication and commitment to honoring and recognizing America’s more than 1.8 million Purple Heart recipients through naming one of the city’s most important structures Purple Heart Bridge. Its work and diligence to remembering the bravery service and sacrifices of our nation’s combat-wounded veterans has helped to establish a profound and far-reaching patriotic connection with all who cross that bridge and has justly earned the utmost admiration and gratitude of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.”
Chris Haynes of Hamilton — past Ohio VFW commander — also addressed council on behalf of state commander Dan Faulkner.
He presented a certification of appreciation to the city recognizing its “dedication in honoring Americans and your local combat-wounded veterans with the naming of the Purple Heart Bridge, a structure meant to serve for many generations just as those who served throughout many generations. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Ohio, takes great pride in recognizing the city of Defiance for being veteran-friendly, while also remembering the same group for their bravery on the battlefield.”
In other legislative business, council:
• approved an amended emergency ordinance allowing the purchase of self-contained firefighter breathing apparatus from Fire Safety Services Inc., Huntsville. The cost is $130,434.45, with money from the fire and rescue trust fund paying the bill. The ordinance’s emergency clause means the legislation becomes law upon the mayor’s signature rather than after the regular 30-day waiting period.
• passed an ordinance rezoning 91.06 acres of recently annexed land at the northwest corner of Elliott and Carpenter roads from M-1 (restricted industrial) to M-3 (heavy manufacturing).
• approved an ordinance amending legislation allowing the acquisition of property next to the proposed traffic roundabout at Ottawa and Cleveland avenues. The purchase cost is $47,625.