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Wyandotte's Purple Heart Memorial Garden Receives Top State Recognition

The Purple Heart Memorial Garden is the recipient of the 2011 Keep Michigan Beautiful Award.

Wyandotte’s has received the highest award possible from a state organization that promotes beautification projects across Michigan.

Natalie Rankine, director of Wyandotte’s Downtown Development Authority, recently received the 2011 Keep Michigan Beautiful Award.

The group hands out four levels of awards–the President’s plaque, the Michigan plaque, the Distinguished Service plaque and the Award of Merit.

Rankine, a licensed architect, received the gold-tier President’s Plaque for the Purple Heart Memorial Garden, which she designed and raised $250,000 for as a volunteer before being hired by the city.

After being hired, she managed the construction of the project and coordinated its dedication ceremony, which took place on Memorial Day in 2010.

The refurbished bronzed Purple Heart statue sits near Biddle and Superior. It was originally dedicated by then-Michigan Gov. Harry Kelly in 1943 during World War II. The statue features a U.S. soldier caring for a wounded comrade.

Wyandotte was the first city in the country to which the National Military Order of the Purple Heart commissioned and donated a monument of this type.

While the state awarded Rankine for the project, she praised the assistance of David Polczynski, who helped on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 127 Downriver.

“This man is unstoppable,” Rankine said. “We’re going to have a monument on every corner in Wyandotte real soon.”

Polczynski said people are always telling him that “your city is really patriotic.”

“I can’t thank everybody enough for what they did for that monument,” he said.

The plaque is on display on the second floor of .

Carl R Conatser December 01, 2011 at 10:37 PM
Hi this is Carl Conatser, this is a most wonderful thing to happen to Wyandotte I just love it, and to my neice who made it happen you are a great person.
Karin Risko December 02, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Stopped by this memorial during the summer. Very beautiful. Congrats Natalie and the City of Wyandotte.

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