The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Military Order
of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to
commemorate and honor all men and women who have been wounded or killed in
combat while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Purple Heart Trail has
also been implemented in Puerto Rico and Guam.
The Texas portion of the national Purple Heart Trail was designated as
that part of Interstate 35 located in Texas, and made official by Acts of
the 79th Texas Legislature that became effective September 1, 2005.
Markers designed, constructed and erected by the Texas Department
of Transportation (TxDOT) were entirely funded by donations raised by San
Antonioís Alamo Chapter 1836 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
That Chapterís Patriot Tony Roman (who was also then Chief of
Staff for Department of Texas, Military Order of the Purple Heart) headed a
team that quickly secured donations providing all the original costs of the
Most of the funding came from a single corporate sponsor.
A ceremony establishing the portion of Interstate 35 in Texas as the
Purple Heart Trail, the first Purple Heart Trail in the state, was conducted
on Saturday, September 3, 2005 at 10 a.m. in Laredo, Texas. State Senator
Leticia Van de Putte (District 26) sponsored the bill (SB678) to establish
the Purple Heart Trail in Texas.
Other than it taking a while for all the signs to be put up at selected
locations on I-35
between Gainesville on the Red River and Laredo on the Rio Grande, nothing
much changed until 2011. Two additional segments were added to the Texas
Purple Heart Trail by the 82nd Texas legislature upon their passage of
Senate Bill, SB-1311, which was then signed into law by Texas Governor Perry
on June 17, 2011, bearing an effective date of September 1, 2011.
Those two segments are I-40 across the Texas Panhandle; and the major route
from San Antonio to South Padre Island (that portion of I-37 from its
intersection with I-35 in San Antonio, to State Highway 77 near Corpus
Christi, then following 77 south to State Highway 100, and then Highway 100,
to Park Road 100, and Park Road 100 on South Padre Island). Again, the
Military Order of the Purple Heartís local San Antonio Chapter (largest in
the nation) took on the task of raising the funds.
Commander Manuel Soto, Adjutant Bill Johnson, Patriots Robert
Weber and Raymond Venezie were part of a team headed by James Ramsey that
secured a donation of the entire amount needed for both segments from a
single contributor, Haven Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. (also principal donor
in 2005 for the initial trail). Patriot Bill Crumlett did all of the
coordination with TxDOT, including transfer of the $25,212 required for the
signs for these two segments, as he had also done for the original project
The segment to South Padre Island:
A dedication ceremony was held at Port Isabel in January 2012
officially recognizing the opening of that segment.
At this posting, most of the remaining marker signs (sufficient to
be spaced at intervals no greater than 100 miles) for both of the added
segments are in process of being completed.
In the coming days and weeks, dedication ceremonies will be
conducted at Corpus Christi, San Antonio and for the I-40 segment in
Amarillo, and the signs will soon become a familiar sight along those
More about the I-40 segment across the Texas Panhandle:
Interstate-40 spans the nation from North Carolina to California and all the
other states along that route have previously designated their segments of
I-40 as a Purple Heart Trail. So, now the Purple Heart Trail I-40
across the Texas Panhandle completes the last link in that coast-to-coast
national Purple Heart Trail.