HARKER HEIGHTS — The city is now the first city in Bell County — and the fourth in the state — to bear the Purple Heart City designation.

The City Council declared the designation at its meeting Tuesday.

Purple Heart cities are known for their strong commitments to veterans.

By proclaiming itself a Purple Heart City, Heights is paying tribute to the dedicated servicemen and women who have received the honor and recognizing all veterans for their service.

Mayor Mike Aycock presented Earl Williams, commander of Chapter 1876 Military Order of the Purple Heart, his wife Doris Williams, president of the ladies auxiliary, and John Footman, former state commander of Texas, with a proclamation on Tuesday officially making the city a Purple Heart City.

“Ed Mullen and the late Stewart C. Meyer are both members and were former city mayors, so it is only proper and fitting for Heights to have the designation,” Footman said. “This designation costs the city not a dime, but it will reap many benefits by making the military community feel more welcome here.”

There are 281 Purple Heart cities throughout the U.S., and Texas is home to four: Heights, Georgetown, Kerrville and Lubbock.

Although Texas has 3,649 members of the MOPH, so far the state has only one Purple Heart County (Kerr County).

Georgetown was the first city in Texas to adopt the title on Sept. 24, formalizing its spot of the Purple Heart Trail.

The trail is an honorary system of roads, landmarks and other monuments that give tribute to those awarded the medal.

It is a visual reminder to travelers that others paid the price for their freedom to use those roads and live in a free society.

Signs dot the highway system where legislation was passed in 45 states and Guam, including the entire Texas segment of Interstate 35 from Laredo to the Oklahoma border.

Local Chapter 1876 will present the city with a plaque at its 12th annual Purple Heart Ball on Feb. 15 at Club Hood.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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