Temple: VA designated as nation’s 1st Purple Heart VA healthcare system

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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) The Temple VA Clinic was designated Friday as the first Purple Heart VA healthcare system in the nation.

The clinic hosted a ceremony on Friday afternoon, dedicating a marker that was installed in front of the hospital honoring those who sacrificed their lives and were wounded in combat. (Photo by Alex Gibbs)

The clinic hosted a ceremony on Friday afternoon, dedicating a marker that was installed in front of the hospital honoring those who sacrificed their lives and were wounded in combat.

Jon Lunkwicz, the Military Order of the Purple Heart state commander, says he was proud to honor the veterans and the clinic that has taken such good care of them.

"Stick with the VA because they'll take care of you in the long run," he said.

"Not everyone would be a Purple Heart city or county, they have to demonstrate and especially this place demonstrated their excellent health care to veterans."

Speakers included Lazaro Camarillo, an Army paratrooper who earned his Purple Heart during the May 1969 Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam.

He said he was proud to honor anyone who takes care of our military.

"We do not leave anybody behind. We'll recognize all veterans," he said.

"You don't have to be a Purple Heart recipient, you just have to be a veteran."

Additional Purple Heart markers will be installed at the Waco, Austin, and surrounding VA clinics in Central Texas.

In June 2017 the Military Order of the Purple Heart designated KWTX Television as a Purple Heart Television Station, the first station to receive such an honor.

The proclamation naming KWTX an official Purple Heart Television Station cited the station’s rich history of honoring service men and women through news interviews and most recently interviews with Vietnam Veterans in two news documentaries.

KWTX received a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award and Lone Star Emmy in 2016 for the documentary, “We Can’t Forget Vietnam.”

This documentary is now part of the Department of Defense Website commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

The KWTX documentary “From the Ashes of Vietnam” was honored with a National Edward R. Murrow Award by the Radio-Television-Digital News Directors Association.