County looks to honor Purple Heart veterans

Montgomery County may soon be recognized as a Purple Heart county with signs acknowledging its military veterans who were wounded in battle. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces who are wounded in combat, or posthumously to the next of kin in the name of a veteran killed as a result of combat.

Members of the County Legislature’s Education and Government Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a resolution giving the designation to Montgomery County.

Committee Chairman John Duchessi, legislator from District 6, spoke in favor of the proposal.

“The designation allows for appropriate signage,” he said. “I’ve seen it in other counties. Certainly we want to recognize the sacrifices made by our nation’s veterans, especially those that are combat wounded.’

Route 5 from Albany to Syracuse already is designated as a Purple Heart Highway, Duchessi said. The new designation would apply to the entire county, not just the road.

“I know there are a few of us here [in the Legislature] whose dads are Purple Heart veterans,” Duchessi said. “My father was wounded at the Battle of Monte Cassino, and he served as national commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.”

He drew some laughs when he said his father “always thought those first signs designating the highway were too small.”

Money to pay for the new signs would come from the Hotel and Motel Occupancy Tax line in the county budget, according to the resolution.

District 2 Legislator Thomas Quackenbush offered to second the resolution if District 3 Legislator Roy Dimond, whose father was a Purple Heart recipient, wanted to sponsor it. With the committee’s approval, the measure now goes to the full Legislature.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.