Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Molena Purple Heart Day and 5K/10K Run/Walk - April 27
By Editor Becky Watts

MOLENA - The City of Molena and The Pike County American Legion Post 197 hosted a Molena Purple Heart Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019. It was a time of fun for friends and family as they walked and ran in the American Legion 5K/10K Run/Walk even in the morning, and a time of patriotism later in the morning as Molena honored those who have been awarded the purple heart in this Purple Heart City.

Mayor George E. Ingram was the master of ceremony. Molena Baptist Church Pastor Terry Murphy offered the opening prayer. The Pike County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard presented the flag. The National Anthem was presented by the Pike County High School Brass Ensemble. Bryan Richardson, History of the American Legion Pike Post 197, read the history of the purple heart.

Purple Heart Recipients who were honored include:
Douglas Ed Jones WW II, Korea and Vietnam
William H. Parker Vietnam
William M. Wise
Ewell Bell Vietnam
Darrell Winkler Vietnam
Albert Grose Jr. (AJ) Iraq
Christopher S. Cates Afghanistan
Robert Thomas Nelson Vietnam

Ewell Bell served in Vietnam and told the audience about the day that he earned his Purple Heart. It was May 5, 1968, and he was involved in a small operation on a Sunday morning. It started out like normal at 4:30 am with breakfast and a mission at 7 am. About 10 am they got to outskirts of a village where they found evidence of MVA in the village. Started They started receiving fire and called for artillery. They couldn't go forward and couldn't go backward until help arrived. He and a soldier with him were injured during the firefight. He said, "You never know what to expect when you go out on a patrol." He also said that there are no guarantees in life.

AJ Grose, Jr. served in Iraq in 2006. He was stationed in one of Saddam's son's palaces. AJ was a gunner, and the vehicle blew up on patrol. "I lost my best friend who was driving that day," he said. Slow motion... Smoke and stars... He credited the medics with saving his life that day. He spent 6-8 months at Walter Reed Hospital, and met his wife at a party after his rehabilitation time was done. He praised his family for their love and support.

Tausha is City Clerk. She is also a veteran as well as AJ's wife. It was her idea for Molena to become a Purple Heart City. She said that the sacrifices they (our veterans) make are great. She pointed out that the sacrifices made by their families are great too. If it wasn't for our families picking up where military left off, veterans would have a harder time. She said that veterans are taught to be strong, and it's hard to ask for help when they get back home. She said, "I am taking care of my husband for my country. A lot of veterans don't have that." She is helping carry the burden for her husband and her family and said that sometimes you just need to be there for them. "As a community, we can reach out and show them that we care," she said. "We can let them know that we appreciate them and what they did was not in vain... We have safe communities because of their sacrifice."

Chaplain Ben Maxedon, CEO of Prayer Power of Georgia, told the audience that there are organizations to assist in whatever way we can. He named our local American Legion and said that it's like family there. He prayed a special Purple Heart prayer before Logan Totten played TAPS to honor the deceased Purple Heart recipients.

A representative for Military Order of Purple Heart also spoke to the audience and said that when someone goes off to war someone else returns. He urged service members to join a military service organization like the American Legion or the VFW. And he urged those in the audience to take care of veterans and their families. He ended by saying that he would like to have a chapter in this area.

This was a beautiful ceremony, and many came out to honor our Purple Heart Recipients. This kind of love and respect is part of what makes Pike County an awesome place to live.

Thank you to Mike Thompson's middle school art classes who made the beautiful artwork that was displayed in the pavilion and on both sides of the fence. Special thanks to: Georgia Power, the Molena Civic Club, Wild Daisy Bed and Breakfast, and the American Legion Pike Post 197 for their support.

Photos can be found on Facebook by clicking here. If you would like a copy of any of the photos, please let me know and I'll be happy to send you an original.

Molena Purple Heart Day and 5K/10K Run/Walk - April 27
(Map Is Below This Article)

MOLENA - On 27 April 2019, the City of Molena and The Pike County American Legion will host a Molena Purple Heart Day. All events start or occur at the Molena City Park Pavilion at the intersection of GA 18 and Spring Road (GA 109) Molena, Georgia.

Initiating the day’s activities is the American Legion’s ninth overall and second in the City of Molena 5K/10K Run/Walk fundraiser. The event resembles the German Volksmarch type of activity. Participants can arrive and start at their leisure any time between 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. There is a choice between a 5K (3.1 miles) and a 10K (6.2 miles) course. Depending on the course chosen, participants will enjoy historic sights of Molena, scenic homes, and vistas of Pike County country roads, countryside, and farm activity. Participants can either walk, run, or walk/run either of the courses.

It is not a race; there is no mass start. Each course will be well marked with directional and mile markers. There are rest areas on the courses where participants will get their participation cards marked and can partake in assorted refreshments to help them through the course. Refreshments are also available after completion of the courses.

Early pre-registration is $25. Late registration is $35 after 20 April 2019 and day of the event. All who register will get a nice looking event T-shirt honoring Purple Heart recipients and free event snacks and beverages. Each registrant is guaranteed a T-shirt. Due to late registration, a T-shirt will not be available on the day of the event; however, one will be mailed. So, register early and wear your T-shirt on the walk/run to honor our Purple Heart recipients. Those who registered, but could not attend, a T-shirt will be mailed.

To get a Pike County related Purple Heart recipient (family member or friend, living or deceased) listed (at no cost) on the front of the T-shirt, please contact me. Also, as part of our quest for sponsorship, for a donation of $50, the name of a deceased Veteran will be added onto the “In Memory of Veteran:” listed on the back of the T-shirt with the event sponsors.

The Run/Walk is a charity event to benefit the American Legion Post 197 Veteran and Community programs while at the same time providing a healthy event for the community. For additional information, contact the Event Director, Bryan Richardson, at 678-764-2611 or email: rich5060@bellsouth.net. If you can’t make it for one reason or another, please help spread the word about the Run/Walk event.

The City of Molena will host follow-on Molena Purple Heart Day activities starting at 11:00 a.m. The program includes: honoring deceased and living Purple Heart recipients, related remarks by guest speakers, “History of the Purple Heart, the unveiling ceremony of the Molena Purple Heart City, and special music. Post 197 will have a Veteran information booth as well as the paperwork required to obtain a lost Purple Heart Medal or other one-time issued medal. Questions on the Molena Purple Heart Day program can be directed to the City Clerk, Tausha Grose at 770-884-9711 or email to molenacityhall@bellsouth.net.

So time your Run/Walk with attending the Purple Heart Program, and brunch or lunch at one of our sponsor’s eating facilities in Molena either before or after the program.

Click here to download a copy of the registration form.

Submitted 3.19.19