In recognition of Purple Heart recipients and their families on National Purple Heart Day, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam sponsored a proclamation that dedicates 4,500 acres on the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest as a Purple Heart Tract. The Military Order of the Purple Heart’s Purple Heart Trail Program began in 1992 to create a symbolic and honorary system of transportation routes and monuments that honor the nation’s Purple Heart recipients.
“As Americans, the brave men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces have secured our freedom and liberty,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “More than 1.9 million servicemembers have been wounded or died defending our country, and this Purple Heart Tract is one way we can appreciate our nation’s heroes and honor them in perpetuity.”
Commissioner Adam H. Putnam hosted the second-annual Operation Outdoor Freedom Purple Heart Day event at Camp Prairie, a facility dedicated to hosting wounded veterans and Operation Outdoor Freedom events. The fully-equipped camp consists of bunk houses, an outdoor kitchen, dining area and restroom facilities, and is outfitted to accommodate the needs of every veteran. Participants enjoyed airboat tours, swamp buggy rides and a prepared lunch.
Spearheaded by Commissioner Putnam, Operation Outdoor Freedom provides wounded veterans with guided hunts, fishing trips, canoe tours and other outdoor recreational activities free of charge. Since the program was launched in 2011, Operation Outdoor Freedom has hosted more than 3,600 wounded veterans on more than 480 outdoor events.
Wounded veterans participate in these events on state forests, private lands and along the state’s coast, and the excursions are funded through private donations.
For more information, visit OperationOutdoorFreedom.com.