On Nov. 7, 2017, Hernando County Commissioners will officially proclaim Hernando County to be a Purple Heart County. Christopher Boreland, the Junior Vice Commander for the Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) has been working with the county, Commissioner Jeff Holcomb and former Commissioner John Mitten in order to establish the designation.
Boreland, from Spring Hill, described the purpose of the designation, to “recognize and honor Purple Heart Veterans and their families.” The county will place signs at all major entrances to the county.
After graduating from River Ridge High School in 2005, Boreland joined the Marine Corps. He was deployed to Iraq and 11 months after his high school graduation, he was back home having suffered injuries from an IED (improvised explosive device). His injuries were extensive and required years of rehabilitation and occupational therapy.
The MOPH is a Congressionally chartered organization and is specifically designed to serve combat wounded veterans like Boreland. Their membership is limited to veterans who received the Purple Heart medal for injuries during combat, but they also “support all veterans and their families with a myriad of nation-wide programs by Chapters and National Service Officers.”
One of those services includes assistance to all veterans in navigating the VA system, filing claims and provides veteran’s benefits experts.
The closest MOPH chapter for Hernando County residents is the Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 in Lecanto but Boreland says that Purple Heart Veterans can join any chapter they wish and the Lecanto chapter has members statewide.
Recently the Aaron A. Weaver MOPH chapter offered hurricane assistance to Purple Heart veterans and their families. They sent funds to a local chapter in Houston for assistance and recovery there. The chapter also maintains a number of higher education scholarships for veterans.
Richard Hunt, the Florida State Commander of the MOPH and also a member of the Aaron A. Weaver chapter, plans to attend the Hernando County Board of County Commissioner’s Purple Heart County proclamation on Nov. 7, 2017.
Hernando County joins the 64 other Florida cities and counties in honoring Purple Heart Veterans through this designation. On the Military Order of the Purple Heart website, an interactive map shows all the counties and cities across the United States which have joined together to honor those who have sacrificed so much.
In addition to road signs for cities and counties, the organization has also established the Purple Heart Trail. The trail begins in Mount Vernon, Virginia, the home and burial place of George Washington with whom the concept of the Purple Heart medal originates. Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, the predecessor of the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart pays tribute to Washington, depicting his bust in the center of the heart and the Washington Coat of Arms at the top. The Purple Heart Trail is made up of roadways, highways and bridges within 45 states as well as Guam, acting as a “visual reminder to those who use the road system that others have paid a high price for their freedom to travel and live in a free society.”
Businesses can also be designated as Purple Heart entities, which Boreland says is “part of the ongoing effort to promote the proud legacy of the Purple Heart.”
Veterans and community members are encouraged to be present for the proclamation on Nov. 7, 2017 at 9AM in the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners Chambers.
To learn more about the Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, go to