Two heroes to receive Purple Heart Medals this weekend

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 08:02 AM

Purple Heart Medal presentations will be made this weekend for two Rutherford County heroes.

Army Corporal Joseph Ford, Sr.,of Rutherfordton and Cpl. George D.Hemphill of Union Mills. 

On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., Ford will receive the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals during a ceremony at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Asheville. 

Frank Dean, Lt. Col. US Army (Ret.) will preside over the ceremony.

Remarks will be presented by Dean and Tim Marsh, Ford’s pastor at First Baptist Church in Rutherfordton. Colors will be presented by the Marine Corp League Post 1221 with Commandant Bill Swope from Rutherford County.

Family and friends will attend the ceremony at the Grace Chapel Church at the hospital.

The presentations are being made possible through Senator Kay Hagan, Veterans’ Legacy Foundation and Rolling Thunder SC2, North Carolina National Guard, Patriot Guard Riders and the Pizza Hunt of Asheville.

On Sunday, Hemphill will be reunited with his lost Purple Heart Medal that has been gone 70 years. The 2 p.m. ceremony will be held at the Rutherfordton Community Center, Gilkey School Road in Gilkey.

Capt. Zachariah Fike, founder of Purple Hearts Reunited and Assistant Americanism Officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart will conduct the ceremony. Fike will be assisted by the State Commander and Patriots from the North Carolina Department of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Friends and family will attend and the public is invited.