Purple Heart memorial vandalized

Dec. 2, 2010

The damage is estimated to be $7,000, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

The Heroes Park memorial, which honors recipients of the Purple Heart medal, was targeted by vandals last week.

During the morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 24, while on routine patrol, Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy Jesse Kocorowski noticed the memorial slab was pushed off its foundation. Damage is estimated at $7,000, according to a press release by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.

Stephen Lunsford, a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 808, told the Sheriff’s Office the memorial was intact as recently as Saturday, Nov. 20.

“Of all of the things that are currently going on in the world, this pales in comparison; but to us, it’s very important,” Lunsford said Monday.

Lunsford, a Purple Heart recipient, was at the park with a few other members of the local chapter Saturday morning. He said they routinely go there to think and reflect. Everything in the park that Saturday morning was fine, Lunsford said. The damage, Lunsford said, is a surprise.

“We’re talking about a monument honoring those that at least gave their blood and, at most, gave their lives,” Lunsford said. “And that’s at a heavy price. It breaks my heart. It’s not about us, but it’s our brothers that didn’t come home, and it’s a slap in the face to them.”

Sheriff Donald Fleming said, “This memorial was dedicated to the men and women who were wounded in combat. They deserve our respect.”

According to Debra Johnson, spokesperson for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, there was no update in the investigation as of Monday, Nov. 29.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office at 313-4911 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-277-8477. A reward might be available.

The memorial was dedicated in Heroes Park, on Palm Coast Parkway, in September, and the memorial slab was donated by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 808.