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News Story
Updated: 08/09/2014 03:43:42PM

Salute to brave ‘Hearts’

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SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Thursday, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Jack L. Conway Chapter 759 dedicated 18 new bricks at the Kiwanis Veterans Garden in Laishley Park in Punta Gorda. Here, the audience recites the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the ceremony.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Roses were placed near the bricks at the Kiwanis Veterans Garden in Laishley Park, for those who served our country during wartime.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart take a moment to pose for a group photo at Laishley Park after the dedication.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Mary and Lee Chalifour and museum Executive Director Kim Lovejoy at the reception held after the brick dedication at the Military Heritage Museum at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Larry Izzo, adjutant and former president of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, received his Purple Heart when he was wounded in Korea in 1952.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Helen DiLeonardi, who was a “Rosie the Riveter” and made parts for B-26 bombers, and Julia Liller are greeted by museum volunteers Joe Dinnish and Don Schall.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Charlotte County Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch; Cecilia Zeis of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Jack L. Conway Chapter 759 Auxiliary; and Military Heritage Museum Executive Director Kim Lovejoy.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Art McGinnis, John Ross and Don Nemetz are all Purple Heart recipients from the Vietnam War.

SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

Char Quinn, a volunteer at the Military Heritage Museum, chats with Lois and William Crites during the reception, held at the museum.

By AL HEMINGWAY

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PUNTA GORDA — While visiting Punta Gorda in 2012, U.S. Army Master Sgt. Christopher Zastrow visited the Military Heritage Museum located at Fishermen’s Village. Pleased with what he saw, Zastrow returned home and decided to part with a Purple Heart Medal given to him a few years earlier by a woman whose husband had been awarded it during World War II.

“She asked me to find a safe home for it,” Zastrow wrote in a letter addressed to Kim Lovejoy, the museum’s executive director. “That was over five years ago. I have held onto it since then. I think the medal belongs in a place like the museum, where others can pay honor to those who have fought for our freedom and still do.”

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