COPPERAS COVE — Jonathan Haywood knows it won’t be easy, but he understands the importance of closure.
That’s why the president of Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans asked for the Purple Heart Wall to visit Cove during the sixth annual Independence Day Celebration on Saturday.
“The wall will have a picture of every Purple Heart recipient from the state of Texas since 2003,” Haywood said. “We hope this helps some families come to terms with their losses and perhaps provide some closure. Regardless, it’s an important exhibit so we can show the military community that we won’t forget.”
Star Group also will honor Henri Grenier, a veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, a Pearl Harbor survivor and the recipient of two Purple Hearts. Grenier didn’t seek out Star Group for recognition, rather it is a continuation of Star Group’s mission to serve and acknowledge veterans, Haywood said.
“Every year we search for a World War II veteran to publicly thank them and to ensure they are given their proper respect,” he said. “We don’t have too many Pearl Harbor survivors left and this man fought in three wars. All of that makes him the ideal choice.”
Grenier will be presented with an award and artist Robert Howell will begin painting his portrait to celebrate Grenier’s life and acknowledge his sacrifices.
The mayors of Cove, Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville will be present to issue proclamations in favor of Star Group, and the Cove High JROTC will present Star Group with a flag that flew over the state Capitol building.
Along with barbecue, a variety of music and family entertainment, Star Group offers a Saturday afternoon filled with reflection and joy.
“This is free for everyone. So please come out and support our veterans,” Haywood said. “The food is free, the drinks are free, all to celebrate the land of the free and its heroes.”
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Copperas Cove Civic Center on Avenue B. The award presentation ceremony begins at 11 a.m.