Smith County joined the city of Tyler as a recognized “Purple Heart” entity on Tuesday for its participation in bettering the lives of veterans, especially those wounded in combat.

Commissioners approved a resolution identifying Smith County a “Purple Heart County” by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Purple Hearts are awarded to service members who were wounded or killed in combat.

“Smith County can never fully express our gratitude for the sacrifice recipients have made in the defense of our freedom on behalf of our country and community,” County Judge Joel Baker said.

Smith County Veterans Service Officer Marshal Joslin said the designation was a symbolic recognition of community support for veterans.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart is a national organization created to bring awareness to the needs of combat veterans and to foster camaraderie among recipients.

Smith County is home to more than 16,000 military veterans. While there is no official tally of Purple Heart recipients residing in the county, the local Order has a membership of more than 100 veterans who received the award.

The city of Tyler was officially designated on June 25.

Nick Sciarrini, of the local Order of the Purple Heart chapter, presented the court with a plaque acknowledging the county’s support for veterans.

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