Vietnam Veterans of America Vero Beach (Fla.) Chapter 1038 hosted its first Purple Heart Day event Aug. 7 in conjunction with the Vero Beach Veterans Association. The event attracted more than 30 veterans to to a special recognition and brunch.
Veterans wore hats, pins and shirts identifying themselves as Purple Heart recipients. A custom-made cane from the Indian River Woodcarvers Association was given to Albert Maldonado, a Marine injured in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2014. He was nominated for the honor by Tommy “Stormy” Matteo, a Vietnam veteran with six Purple Heart medals.
“Being around veterans is like being around family,” Iraq War veteran Jesse Gladney told TCPalm at the event.