2-time Purple Heart recipient weds at SA VFW post

First wedding chapter has held for one of its own

SAN ANTONIO - U.S. Navy and Iraq War combat veteran Raymond Casas and his fiancé, Azalea Martinez, tied the knot Friday afternoon at VFW Post 8541 on Austin Highway.

Weddings are always a romantic occasion, but this ceremony was an affair of the heart in a much different way.

"He's got two Purple Hearts. The gentleman had been shot in the chest - put back into action after he was cured from that. Then he hit an IED," said retired U.S. Army First Sgt. Bill Johnson, a combat veteran and member of the Militiary Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1836.

After a long stay at a military hospital at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Casas decided to move to Texas and contacted Johnson about Chapter 1836.

"He's one of us. We're a brotherhood, being members of the the Purple Heart," Johnson said. "So we adopted him."

Casas had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the IED attack, so the members of Chapter 1836 felt obligated to do whatever they could for the Wounded Warrior.

"They said they wanted to get married and the light bulb went off, " Johnson said.

"The Military Order of the Purple Heart took charge and they put the whole ceremony and everything together for us," Casas said.

It was the first wedding the chapter had ever thrown for one of its own, and it was purple-themed from the wedding aisle right down to the cake decorations.


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