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Westchester Now A Purple Heart County

Willy Nazario, far right, and John Testa, second from right, celebrated Westchester's new Purple Heart designation Friday.
Willy Nazario, far right, and John Testa, second from right, celebrated Westchester's new Purple Heart designation Friday. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – District 1 County Legislator John Testa announced Friday that Westchester County has become the third county in New York State to be officially designated a Purple Heart County, joining Orange and Putnam Counties.  

At the Town of Cortlandt Memorial Day Ceremony on Friday Testa presented NY State’s Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart William “Willie” Nazario with an official proclamation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators. On May 6 the county board of legislators unanimously passed the resolution introduced by Testa.

“I have worked closely with Willie Nazario, the various veteran organizations throughout my district and the Westchester Veteran Services Agency to assist our veterans in any way possible and to bring forward the services they deserve,” Testa said. “I am proud and honored to be able to announce that Westchester County is now an official Purple Heart County in New York State. Westchester has a proud history of service to our country since the Revolutionary War and every conflict since.”

The Purple Heart designation has been a longtime focus of Nazario, himself a Purple Heart recipient from his service in the Vietnam War.

“It is my goal to have New York State be the first state in the country to have every county within it declared an official Purple Heart County,” said Nazario.

The Westchester County Purple Heart resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, on August 7, 1782 at his headquarters in Newburgh, New York, Commander in Chief General George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, the precursor to the modern day Purple Heart, for singular meritorious action and is the oldest military decoration in use today and

WHEREAS, the Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who was wounded or killed in combat with a declared enemy of the United States of America and

WHEREAS, the people of the County of Westchester have great admiration and the utmost gratitude for all the men and women who have selflessly served their country and this community in the Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, veterans have paid the high price of freedom by leaving their families and communities and placing themselves in harm’s way for the good of all; and

WHEREAS, the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women from Westchester County who served in the Armed Forces have been vital in maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by our citizens; and

WHEREAS, many men and women in uniform have given their lives while serving in the Armed Forces; and

WHEREAS, many citizens of our community have earned the Purple Heart Medal as a result of being wounded or killed while engaged in combat with an enemy force, construed as a singularly meritorious act of essential service; and

WHEREAS,August 7th has officially been designated as the day to remember and recognize veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart Medal.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Westchester County Legislature hereby proclaims Westchester as a Purple Heart County, honoring the service and sacrifice of our Nation’s men and women in uniform wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans.


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