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A Purple Heart story
Retired Army 1st Sgt. Dennis Ellison receiving the Purple Heart he earned in Vietnam and later lost during a move. Photo by Melinda Schneider.

Story by Faye Morris:

Retired Army 1st Sgt. Dennis K. Ellison was awarded the Purple Heart during one of his tours of duty in Viet Nam. 

During his first tour in Viet Nam, his unit was ambushed and suffered many casualties. 

Ellison was badly wounded from shrapnel in his right shoulder requiring evacuation to a hospital in Japan until he recovered. 

He also served tours of duty in Germany, Korea and Panama.  But after moving several times while rotating to other duty stations and retiring from active duty, he eventually lost his Purple Heart.  

Being awarded the Purple Heart means the service member was wounded during combat while serving his country. 

Ellison’s daughter, Natascha Silik, reached out to the local chapter of Viet Nam Veterans of America, Liberty Chapter No. 789 in May.

The VVA president, retired Sgt. Maj. Chad Chaffee, accepted the task of assisting Ellison get the award replaced. 

This is one of the many ways VVA helps active and retired military members and their families in the local communities.

Although Ellison received numerous other awards during his military career, he said the Purple Heart award is special. 

Chaffee spoke with the Ft. Stewart garrison commander, Col.  Jason Wolter, to explain the situation.  

Wolter then took it upon himself to get the Purple Heart award replaced and personally presented the award to Ellison at the regular monthly meeting of VVA on June 5.

The VVA local chapter, Chapter 789,  meets the first Tuesday night of each month except July at Golden Hibachi Buffet and Grill located on Highway 84.  

The meeting begins at 7 p.m.  

For more information on Chapter 789, call Chaffee at 369-5378.


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