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Purple Heart club named for DL vet

When Robert Ellsworth passed away on Oct. 15, 2014, his obituary referred to him as "the founding father of the Lloyd Beck Chapter 745 Military Order of the Purple Heart."...

When Robert Ellsworth passed away on Oct. 15, 2014, his obituary referred to him as "the founding father of the Lloyd Beck Chapter 745 Military Order of the Purple Heart."

A Purple Heart recipient after being wounded at the Chosin Reservoir on Nov. 3, 1950, during the Korean War, Ellsworth worked tirelessly to get the new MOPH chapter up and running.

"The first one to sign up (for the new chapter) was C. Lloyd Beck," says George Peters, a Detroit Lakes resident and four-time Purple Heart recipient for his service during the Vietnam War. "He passed away before we actually got the chapter up and running, so we named it after him."

But Peters, who counted Ellsworth among his closest friends, felt that the man should receive more recognition for his achievement.

"He struggled for years to put our chapter together," Peters said.

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So when he approached his fellow MOPH members last year about renaming the chapter in Ellsworth's honor, they agreed.

"It took a year to get it done," Peters said, but after months of paperwork and patience, he got his wish, as the Robert C. Ellsworth Chapter 745 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart was officially dedicated in a special ceremony at the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum in Perham on Saturday, April 2.

"The whole family was there," Peters said, including Ellsworth's three children and their families (his wife Joan passed away in 2004). "We presented each of them with a framed copy of the new charter."

MOPH Chapter 745 meets on the first Saturday of every month, March through October, at 10 a.m. at the ITOW Veterans Museum.

"We don't meet during the winter," Peters noted. "And our October meeting is held at the Veterans Home in Fergus Falls."

Though the chapter numbers about 50 members, there are only about a half dozen or so who are regular attendees, Peters said.

"We're a small group," he added. "New members are always welcome."

Peters is also active in a variety of other veterans' projects in the Detroit Lakes community where he and his wife Jan have made their home for many years. He is particularly proud of the Veterans Memorial Park, which he helped to get dedicated back in 2011.

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The MOPH and other veterans' groups in the community, including the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the Becker County Veterans' Service Office, are joining forces to host a Community Appreciation Supper on Saturday, April 30, at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We're expecting to serve about 500 people," he said.

All of the veterans' service organizations will have a booth of some sort set up during the event, to give attendees a better idea of all the volunteer services they provide to the community.

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