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PURPLE HEART

Teacher lauded for honoring veterans

Music instructor will go to Denver for ceremony

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Alice Lemle holds the medals of her father-in-law, Victor Lemle, who was awarded a Purple Heart for his actions during World War II.

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Alice Lemle believes in the importance of teaching her students at Greenwood Elementary School about military veterans and the sacrifices they made, in particular those who received the Purple Heart.

The National Ladies Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart has taken notice and will present her with the Martha Washington Award, its highest, at a ceremony in Denver on Aug. 7, National Purple Heart Day.

Mrs. Lemle, who teaches music, and her husband, Mark, will be flown to Denver and their expenses paid for the occasion.

“This is in recognition of her activities at the school and her support of veterans,” explained Barbara Cannode, national president of the ladies auxiliary group, whose members are mothers, wives, sisters, widows, daughters, stepdaughters, granddaughters, and adopted lineal descendants of Purple Heart recipients.

“She has been active since 2000 with her programs at the school. It’s a very distinguished award. Alice is the first person ever to receive it who was not a member of the ladies auxiliary,” Mrs. Cannode continued.

At the ceremony in Denver, Mrs. Lemle, 59, will be presented with a plaque that will then be re-presented to her at Greenwood in late August. The school is in the Washington Local district.

Mrs. Lemle’‍s efforts include organizing a wall covered with photos of vets brought in by Greenwood students. They cover a hall, go up in late October, and come down aroudn Thanksgiving, after Veterans Day. The photos are part of a veterans celebration and patriotic program she holds annually in November.

She also helped a student raise the $400 her father needed to accompany her grandfather on an Honor Flight to Washington. The girl’s father was one of the Honor Flight Guardians who go with all travelers. Mrs. Lemle takes students to Toledo Express to welcome home Honor Flight vets.

“There are at least 1,000 people there each time, and we sing patriotic songs such as ‘‍You’‍re a Grand Old Flag’ for those who are waiting,” she said.

There is one Purple Heart recipient who is especially close to Mrs. Lemle’s heart: her late father-in-law, Tech. Sgt. Victor Lemle, who was badly wounded in the leg when his B-24 was shot down over Hungary in World War II. His framed photo and medals hang in the Lemle household. Sergeant Lemle survived by bailing out of his aircraft. He finished the war as a POW, but did not get the medical attention he needed, and his leg was amputated when he returned home.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.

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