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Foundation to honor Purple Heart recipients at Charlotte dinner

A Purple Heart recipient receives a saber salute at a 2013 dinner in Winston-Salem honoring area veterans who had earned that medal. A North Carolina foundation plans to hold its annual dinner for the recipients in Charlotte this year.
A Purple Heart recipient receives a saber salute at a 2013 dinner in Winston-Salem honoring area veterans who had earned that medal. A North Carolina foundation plans to hold its annual dinner for the recipients in Charlotte this year.

A North Carolina foundation that honors Purple Heart recipients with an annual dinner is bringing the event to Charlotte for the first time.

The Purple Heart Foundation of North Carolina will hold its seventh annual dinner in August.

The group is holding a community meeting March 12 at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Training Academy to help decide on the venue and date for the dinner, said foundation co-founder Michael Johnson. The meeting originally was set for Friday but was postponed because of the weather.

“At the dinner, the main focus is to thank the men and women who have shed blood for their country,” Johnson said. Each Purple Heart recipient is honored with a “walk of honor” saber salute as they enter the room with people holding up their swords.

The dinner is free for Purple Heart recipients and their families, and for family members of deceased recipients.

Johnson also is working with local veteran groups on the dinner and to help identify Purple Heart recipients in the area.

Wal-Mart Stores is the main sponsor for the dinner, and Johnson hopes to attract local sponsors to help cover costs too. The dinner typically costs about $17,000 to $18,000 to produce, depending on the venue, with Wal-Mart picking up more than half of the cost.

About 900 people attended last year’s dinner in Wilmington, Johnson said.

After the foundation holds the event in a city, it hopes that local groups continue the dinner in subsequent years.

Purple Heart medals, the oldest military award in the country, are given to service members who are wounded or killed in the service of the nation.

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For more information

The community is invited to attend the foundation’s planning meeting at the CMPD Training Academy, 1770 Shopton Road. It starts at noon March 12, having been rescheduled from Friday.

Contact foundation co-founder Michael Johnson for more information about the dinner or the group, 919-810-1383.

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