The Brown County Museum of History was officially recognized as a Purple Heart Museum during a Saturday afternoon ceremony.
Tracey L. Brown Greene, Senior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, read the following proclamation:
“Whereas the Brown County Museum of History, Brownwood, Texas, has great admiration and the utmost gratitude for all the men and women who have selflessly served their country and this community in the Armed Forces,
And, whereas the Purple Heart is the oldest medal decoration in present use and was initially credited as the Badge of Military Merit by George Washington in 1782,
And, whereas the Purple Heart is the first American service award or decoration made available to the common solider and is specifically awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat with a declared enemy of the United States of America,
And, whereas the contribution and sacrifices of the men and women from the Brown County Museum of History, Brownwood, Texas, who served in the Armed Forces, have been vital in maintaining the freedoms and way of life enjoyed by our citizens,
And, whereas many men and women in uniform have given their lives while serving in the Armed Forces,
And, whereas today, January 29, 2022 has officially been designated as the day the Brown County Museum of History, Brownwood, Texas to remember and recognize veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart medal,
Now, therefore, I, Tracey L. Brown Greene, Senior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, do hereby proclaim the Brown County Museum of History, Brownwood, Texas, officially a Purple Heart Museum.”
Greene added the museum’s Purple Heart exhibit played a factor in receiving the designation.
Dion White, Museum of History Board President, said, “We’re very thankful we have this designation. We’re one of the few civilian museums to have this and we’re only one of two in Texas. The fact that we have this here in Brownwood is so wonderful and such an honor. This is going to be here for years and years, and the memory and honor and the acknowledgment of the sacrifices that were made will live on.”
Among those on hand at the ceremony was Robert E. O’Malley, a three-time Purple Heart recipient as well as the recipient of the Medal of Honor. On Aug. 18 1965, O’Malley, in a firefight, was wounded on three separate occasions but he would not be relieved until all his fellow Marines were evacuated. For these actions, he was the first Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. O’Malley, who received is Medal of Honor on Dec. 6, 1966 from President Lyndon Johnson, is one of only 69 living Medal of Honor recipients
O’Malley donated his Challenge Coin to the museum, which states which medals he has received on each side of the coin and will soon be donating an autographed military print created by his late wife, Barbara Dell Ryder O’Malley, who passed two years ago. O’Malley flew from New York to Texas 56 years ago to sign the mural in Goldthwaite – and remained here, eventually marrying the artist.
“I’m flabbergasted with the gathering of Purple Heart recipients and military personnel,” O’Malley said.
Museum coordinator Kyndall Howard served as master of ceremonies, Brigadier General Dr. Dan Locker led the invocation, Dahl Howard Jr. sang the National Anthem, and Purple Heart recipient Capt. Paul E. Wade provided the introduction.
Wade, whose contributions to the museum included exhibiting his Purple Heart in 2021, “Since my wife and I moved here two years ago, we’ve had nothing but a pleasure in being members of this community, meeting the people and being honored by others. The Lord has been good to me, and I want to know what I can do for you. We want folks to know we’re here. Other folks have brought pictures of their families and put them on the walls that have served, and not just Vietnam but World War II, Korea, and other. If we can help, if we can assist them, we’d love to be able to show you and introduce you to the people.”