By Harry Hurley
WPG, Atlantic City
Talk Show Host
It becomes “family-like.” Something happened today that emphatically illustrates this point so very well.
I was attending the fabulous 20th Annual Talkers 2017 Conference in New York last Friday, June 2, 2017. This is the same day that a package arrived in the mail to me at the Townsquare Media/WPG studios.
The package contained the Purple Heart that had been awarded to a 20-plus-year listener name Joseph John Hadfield from South Carolina. Joe had lived in New Jersey for decades. He left New Jersey several years ago for economic reasons — to enjoy the much lower taxed state of South Carolina. Joe still listens to “Hurley in the Morning” online.
For his military service in action, Joe received the Purple Heart military decoration. It’s awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, since April 5, 1917. It’s the oldest military award still given to United States Military members.
Joe’s Purple Heart came as a result of his distinguished service in the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968, when forces from the People’s Army of North Vietnam carried out a massive artillery bombardment on the U.S. Marine garrison at Khe Sanh, located in northwest South Veitnam near the Laotian border.
At the time, it was one of the most dangerous areas on the planet. Joe served honorably and served our country in the theater of war and left one of his eyes and other body parts on the battle field.
When I opened the package this morning upon my return, it was Joe’s Purple Heart. He wanted me to have it. I called him and was able to bring him-on-air to discuss it. It was very emotional. Joe stated that he considered me like a son and that he will never forget when I contacted him in the hospital several years ago when he had experienced severe burn wounds.
He further stated that it is a thank you for all my service to country.
I advised him that I will be procuring a nice wooden, framed box, with his name on it. I will display it in his honor and that I am merely the custodian of his honor.
I am also the custodian of my own father (Thomas J. Hurley’s) World War II Bronze Star Medal and Two Purple Hearts.
“It’s an honor to me to give it to you,” Joe said on-air. It’s my honor to hold on to it for safe keeping. I’m still trying to process the fact that a United States Military hero actually gave me his Purple Heart. What a supreme honor.
Harry Hurley is the morning drive host on Townsquare Media’s WPGG, Atlantic City, New Jersey. He can be emailed at: HarryHurley@aol.com.