Valdosta Daily Times

March 22, 2014

Ray City named Purple Heart City

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

RAY CITY — The Military Order of the Purple Heart has been traveling the state of Georgia since January to name cities as Purple Heart cities. On Friday morning, Ray City became the 11th city in Georgia to be named as a Purple Heart City.

The designation as a Purple Heart City is a direct result of their continuing dedication to serve and honor the United States’ military veterans. Located just seven miles from Moody Air Force Base, Ray City serves a great number of both veterans and current servicemen and women.

Surrounded by members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, several veterans, citizens and current service men and women, Mayor Wayne Gulley welcomed everyone to the ceremony.

“I stand here before you with different emotions. One is humbling to be in the midst of true heroes. The other is excitement to be able to honor the heroes here today. When I was asked about our city becoming a Purple Heart City, I could not see how we could refuse such an honor representing those who have sacrificed so much,”said Gulley.

Ray City is also home to one of the nation's Purple Heart recipients, Gerald Chason. Chason, born and raised in Ray City, served in the United States Marine Corps in the First Division Seventh Battalion for two years. He served in Vietnam and during his service was injured by a hand grenade. Chason received his Purple Heart on March 26, 1967.

During the ceremony, a proclamation was read naming Ray City as a Purple Heart City.

"Veterans have paid the high price of freedom by leaving their families and communities and placing themselves in harm’s way for the good of all. Now therefore be it resolved that the city of Ray City council designated honoring the service and sacrifice of our nation’s men and women in uniform wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans," read Gulley.

Following the reading of the proclamation, Col. Nick Lacey, retired Air Force, presented a plaque to Chason for his sacrifice and to Chason's wife for her love and support while Chason served.

Chason said of the ceremony, "I am thankful that we have gotten to a point where we are recognizing our veterans now more than when we came out of service. When we came out, they didn't treat us right and I am glad they are doing this now."