Originally Published: August 4, 2010 9:58 p.m.
Chapter 608 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and its commander, Al Santillan, are sponsoring a "Viola Drive" in support of wounded U.S. military veterans and their families this weekend at both Prescott-area Walmart stores.
Hugh Branigan, a Chapter 608 member, former captain in the Marine Corps and trustee with the Purple Heart Association in Prescott, said the drive will take place from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. this Saturday inside the Walmart at 3050 N. Highway 69 and resume at the same times Sunday inside the Walmart at 1280 Gail Gardner Way.
Volunteers will station themselves at a table near the entrance to the stores, where they will hand out violet flower lapel pins. Small cash donations will be accepted.
Branigan said all donated money will be used to help the community, including wounded veterans.
Starting Saturday and continuing through Aug. 13, the association will celebrate National Purple Heart Week in commemoration of veterans who made significant sacrifices in combat.
The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the military who were wounded by foreign forces. It is also given posthumously to veterans' next of kin in the name of the soldier killed in action or one who died of wounds suffered in battle.
President George Washington, who established the Order of the Purple Heart in 1782, initially awarded the medal to only three men during the Revolutionary War.