About 60 Purple Heart recipients were presented with hand carved canes at the Indian River Woodcarver’s semiannual Purple Heart Cane Ceremony held at the Navy SEAL Museum
The canes, carved with the head of an eagle, are meant to honor those veterans who gave so much to their country. Each eagle has a white head and yellow beak as a symbol of the United States. Some of the canes are carved in a matter few weeks while others take several months to complete, depending on the individual carver. Each handle shows the history of the individual veteran’s service to his country, including details about their service branch, awards earned and dates of enlistment and discharge.
The Indian River Woodcarvers took on the Purple Heart Cane Project about five years ago after hearing about a similar program in Michigan. At the first ceremony, the local carvers gave out two canes. Since then, almost 200 veterans have received canes. “This project is something that has just grown and grown,” said Lasenby. “The reaction from the recipients is something that is very emotional. They are all very grateful.”