Purple Heart recipient James Reeff of Brier honored during national tribute event

(Photos courtesy National Purple Heart Honor Mission)

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal (LCpl) James Reeff of Brier, a Purple Heart recipient, was recently honored as one of the nation’s 2023 Purple Heart Patriot Project honorees.

Reeff represented his fellow Purple Heart heroes as Washington’s representative at the multi-day tribute to the courage and sacrifice of America’s combat wounded, according to a news release.

The Purple Heart Patriot Project is a program of the National Purple Heart Honor Mission. The all-expenses-paid trip included visits to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, historic Washington’s Headquarters, a special tour of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and other unique tributes.

“James and his fellow Patriot Project honorees represent the best of the best our country has to offer,” said Richie Lay, a Purple Heart recipient and Chairman of the National Purple Heart Honor Mission. “America’s Purple Heart veterans have given so much to defend freedom and that sacrifice must always be remembered. These brave men and women are true American heroes. We were privileged to be able to provide this unique salute to service for our Purple Heart heroes.”

“Our Purple Heart recipients have made enormous sacrifices for America, and this was our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful nation,” said Col. Russ Vernon (NYARNG Ret.), the executive director for the National Purple Heart Honor Mission. “For some, it was the homecoming they never had. We received hundreds of nominations from across the country and we were pleased to honor James for his courage and service, both during combat operations and in the years since returning home.”

This year’s Patriot Project honorees included men and women Purple Heart recipients from World War II, the Vietnam War, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and other conflicts, representing all branches of the service and ranging from 37 to 100 years old. The event took place Sept. 18-22 in New York.

Asked what he would want others to know about his service, Reeff said, “I was a juvenile delinquent, and the Marine Corps made me the man that I am today. I cannot imagine where I would be today, if I hadn’t served. I carry my service on my sleeve with pride.”

Reeff enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in May 1964, serving for the next four years, including a tour in Vietnam. In August 1965, Reeff was wounded in action while serving as part of Operation Starlite.

Along with the Purple Heart, Reeff was awarded numerous medals and commendations during his service, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal and more.

Reeff and his wife have been married for 48 years and the couple have two sons, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Since leaving the service, Reeff has been involved in several veterans’ organizations, including as commander of the Miitary Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) Chapter 12 for the past three years. He also leads a weekly PTSD Bible Study for combat veterans.

A video from the “Welcome Home” rally can be found here: https://fb.watch/nqz4A4evzK/. Those wishing to learn more about the National Purple Heart Honor Mission or donate to support the Purple Heart Patriot Project should visit www.PurpleHeartMission.org.


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