Pinellas county Commission Designates Pinellas as Purple Heart County

To honor the brave service members who have received the Purple Heart, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners today presented a proclamation designating Pinellas as a Purple Heart County. The Commission also recognized Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day in Pinellas County. Purple Heart Day is nationally recognized on Aug. 7 as well.

“Our local community, state and nation owe a deep amount of gratitude and respect to all members of the Armed Forces, especially those who have been wounded or killed in combat and honored with the Purple Heart Medal,” said Commission Chair Janet C. Long.

The Board presented the proclamation to local and state partner agencies during today’s meeting. Those represented included: Pinellas County Veterans Services, Military Order of the Purple Heart, JFK Chapter 1963, Pinellas County Veterans Council, Veterans Art Center, USF St. Petersburg Veterans Services, Clearwater Vet Center, St. Petersburg Vet Center, City of St. Petersburg Veterans, Social and Homeless Services, Office of Congressman Charlie Crist, Office of Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis, Office of Representative Wengay Newton, and the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Additionally, the Commission expressed its support for the designation of the portion of S.R. 60 between the Hillsborough County line and Mandalay Avenue in Pinellas County as a trail within the National Purple Heart Trail network, and naming that portion of S.R. 60 a “Purple Heart Highway” at today’s meeting.

With the roadway designation, Pinellas County requests that the Florida Department of Transportation place and maintain appropriate markers designating the highway at the site of the Florida Veterans Memorial Plaza at Crest Lake Park, the Hillsborough/Pinellas County line along the Courtney Campbell Causeway and Mandalay Avenue within the City of Clearwater.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA has established a national network of Purple Heart Trails consisting of major highways and roadways that lead to patriotic sites. The Purple Heart Medal was established on August 7, 1782 to honor military personnel wounded or killed in combat.

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About Jeff Cavanagh

Jeff Cavanagh spent his freshman year at St. Petersburg Junior College back in the early 70s before enlisting in the United States Navy. Soon after, he attended Jacksonville University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. After college, he was commissioned and became a qualified Surface Warfare Officer spending the next 22 years honing his skills as a ship-handler and expert recruiter before retiring in 1994. Jeff expresses a deep sense of pride in St. Petersburg College due to connections that go back many years. His father, Tom Cavanagh, was a career Air Force fighter pilot and combat veteran who taught Geography and Western Civilization at St. Petersburg Junior College in the 60’s and 70’s.

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