Special Assignment

John Malan receives the Milwaukee Co. Purple Heart Pass

CREATED Jun 14, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - It's Flag Day, and Milwaukee County presented Storm Team 4 Chief Meteorologist John Malan with a top honor for his service and sacrifice to our country.

You may not know it, but John is a decorated veteran--receiving a Purple Heart for his service during Vietnam.

"A tank blew up next to me, and I was in a foxhole next to one of the tanks and a piece of metal.  A long piece of metal...went straight through my leg," John recalls.

Despite his injury, John is thankful for his time in Vietnam, and what it taught him.  "Regiment, duty, character... You learn all kinds of responsibility."

ohn also credits the Vietnamese monsoon climate for his love of the weather.

"I said to myself, in Vietnam, 'When I get back, I'm going to school to become a meteorologist, because this, understanding this crazy weather is what I want to do,'" John explains.

The Flag Day celebration also included a special award for John.  County Executive Chris Abele presented him with the Purple Heart Pass.  Abele says its just a small way to thank our vets.  He exlplains, "What it allows them is free admission at all sorts of attractions around the county."

Many veterans, young and old, came out for the event.  Vietnam War era veteran Patrick Moore says it's an important reminder for all of us.

"Always keep the vets in mind, because if it wasn't for the veterans you wouldn't be free," he says.

So far, the county has given out more than 300 Purple Heart Passes.  The pass allows free admission for the pass-holder and a guest to places like the Harley Museum, Art Museum, and Milwaukee County Zoo--in addition to some places outside of the county.