Pandora now a Purple Heart Village

Last week, the Village of Pandora, declared itself a Purple Heart Village. Displaying one of five signs for placement throughout the village are (from left) PC Veterans Service Commission representatives Mary Beth Iliff and Stan Oren, Vietnam War Veteran Don Huston, Pandora Mayor Jeremy Leichty, PCVSC representative Dennis Hanneman, and Pandora Chief of Police Scott Stant. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)
Pandora now a Purple Heart Village Last week, the Village of Pandora, declared itself a Purple Heart Village. Displaying one of five signs for placement throughout the village are (from left) PC Veterans Service Commission representatives Mary Beth Iliff and Stan Oren, Vietnam War Veteran Don Huston, Pandora Mayor Jeremy Leichty, PCVSC representative Dennis Hanneman, and Pandora Chief of Police Scott Stant. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

PANDORA — Last Thursday, less than 30 hours before the first moments of Veterans Day 2021 would come to pass, the Village of Pandora officially recognized the battleworn veterans of the area.

“As a village, we are going to make Pandora a Purple Heart village,” Pandora Mayor Jeremy Leichty said. “We have a few residents in town who have served and have received that Purple Heart. It’s fitting that we’re doing this today, with Veterans Day coming up on us.”

Leichty then read a proclamation recognizing and honoring area veterans, recipients of the medal.

“Whereas the Village of Pandora appreciates the sacrifices our Purple Heart recipients have made in defending our freedoms, and believe it is important that we acknowledge their courage, and show them the honor and support they have earned,” Leichty read, in part.

Concluding his presentation, Leichty displayed one of five unique signs declaring Pandora a Purple Heart Village. The cost of the signs, which are now placed strategically throughout the village, was provided by an anonymous donor, according to

Pandora Chief of Police Scott Stant.

Present at the meeting were members of the PCVSC, including board members Stan Oren and Dennis Hanneman, and Mary Beth Iliff, PCVSC office manager. Also present was Don Huston, a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart.

“I’m very surpised,” Huston, who sat with his leg propped up, foot in a cast — a consequence of recent surgery on the very wound he received while serving in Vietnam — said of the designation. “I’ve seen other communities around that have done this, and I think it’s great.”

Huston said the designation, and the village’s willingness to proclaim itself a Purple Heart community, will help shine a light on those who have served, and, in some cases, gave their all.

“There are a lot of vets out there who need help,” Huston said. “Luckily, I don’t. I have family support, and I’ve made it through it.”

But for those who do need assistance, whose return to civilian life proves difficult, the PCVSC is their to help smooth the path.

“If you know veterans who need help in the county, please get them to us,” Oren said. “We will help them. We can help them with finances. We can help them with food. We can help them get doctor’s appointments. Too many won’t step up. But we’re here to do this for them, to help them. That’s why we volunteer.”

Iliff recommended addressing problems proactively.

“It’s best to educate; educate our younger service members,” she said. “I had one come in who just got out in September, and he was in within 20 days. That’s what we want to see. And, actually, we want to see them before they get into boot camp.”

Pandora joins Fort Jennings as one of only two Purple Heart villages within the county. In Pandora, the effort was spearheaded by Stant, with cooperation from the Putnam County Veterans Service Commission. Neighboring Hancock and Defiance Counties themselves have the Purple Heart designation, and offer the same to each community within their boundaries under their separate umbrellas.