Former Army Spec. Michael Araujo of Cape Coral got a key to the city Tuesday, Aug. 7, from Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan on what the mayor proclaimed as Purple Heart Day.
The official proclamation was made at City Hall, with Araujo and family members and other local officials in attendance.
The original Purple Heart, known as the Badge of Military Merit, is an American decoration, the oldest military decoration in the world.
Former Army Spec. Michael Araujo, Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan and Jack Wagner, local commander of The Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Araujo was wounded in late 2009 while deployed to Afghanistan, and lost a leg. Yet his spirits are up - especially considering the fact that he is expecting his second child.
"He's due in six days," Araujo said. "My wife and I, her name is Stephanie, are planning to name him Landon."
They already have a daughter, Malia.
"She'll be turning 4 in October," he said.
Concerning his service, he said, "I have no regrets. My advice is if you want to go into the service is to sit down with someone you know who is or has been in."
He said he's been enjoying many of his old activities.
"I've played softball, am swimming and I want to get back into the gym and start lifting weights," he said.
Concerning his health, he said, he is still having problems with his right leg (the left was amputated).
"I may have to have that amputated."
But he doesn't let anything get him down, said his mother, Dana Araujo.
"That's because he fought after his injury to make sure nothing changes in his life; he doesn't let it get him down in any way," she said.
By honoring him with the key to the city, Mayor Sullivan said, "I do believe we cannot do enough to honor our veterans and help them as much as we can when they come back to civilian life."
The Purple Heart was established by Gen. George Washington at Newburgh, N.Y., on August 7, 1782, during the Revolutionary War, as an incentive, Sullivan had in his proclamation of the day itself.
Jack Wagner, local commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart was there for the presentation.
"We took Michael into the MOPH back on May 26, 2012, at an event at Anthony's on the Blvd., and we gave Michael a lifetime membership to the organization. Basically, in looking at people like Michael, you know that freedom is never free."
Wagner is also on the board of directors for the annual Pride & Patriotism event which is held at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, with youth celebrating the arts and honoring veterans.
"This year that event will be held on Nov. 8."