MEDFORD, Ore. — A Rogue Valley veteran and Purple Heart recipient has been chosen as one of the nation's 2021 "Purple Heart Patriot Project" honorees, which includes a pilgrimage to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in West Point, New York.
U.S. Army Captain Lawrence "Larry" Rupp served two tours in Vietnam, receiving shrapnel wounds in January 1969 during a pair of attacks just two days apart. In May of that year, Rupp also suffered a gunshot wound while he was pursuing a Vietcong carrier.
Rupp was awarded the Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters, in addition to a number of other medals and commendations during his service.
“Larry and his fellow Patriot Project honorees are true American heroes,” 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. We are privileged to be able to provide this unique salute to service for our Purple Heart heroes.”
After leaving the service and returning home to Oregon, Rupp served as an officer with the Oregon State Police for 35 years. He is also a Life Member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, where he has served in Chapter and Department leadership, including as Department of Oregon State Commander from 2016 to 2020.
As part of the Purple Heart Patriot Project, Rupp will serve as Oregon's representative during a multi-day tribute to the courage and sacrifice of America's combat wounded. The all-expenses-paid trip includes visits to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a tour of the newly-renovated National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, and other tributes to service.
“Our Purple Heart recipients have made enormous sacrifices for America and this is our opportunity to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of a grateful nation. For some, this will be like the homecoming they never had. We received hundreds of nominations from across the country and we look forward to honoring Larry for his sacrifice and lifelong service to his community,” said Col. Russ Vernon (Ret.), executive director for the National Purple Heart Honor Mission.