State Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple, is seeking to designate Interstate 14 as a Purple Heart Trail, a network of roads across the nation that honor people who have been awarded the medal.
The Temple legislator, whose district covers Fort Hood, filed House Bill 421 on Thursday. It would only designate the Bell County portion of I-14, stretching from Belton to Killeen, as a Purple Heart Trail.
“As a county that is so involved with veterans and with active duty military, we want to honor those that have made sacrifices for our freedom and to show others that come through what we stand for,” Shine said in a news release.
Several Texas highways are already part of the national Purple Heart Trail, including Interstate 35. The trail network was created in 1992 by the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Shine, who served 30 years in the U.S. Army and the Texas Army National Guard, authored a similar bill with Rep. JD Sheffield, R-Gatesville, and Rep. Scott Cosper, R-Killeen, during the last legislative session in 2017.
That bill, which is now law, designated Texas a Purple Heart State and set Aug. 7 as the annual Purple Heart Day.
“I hope that when people see those Purple Heart signs they take a moment to remember the sacrifice of so many and to ask themselves what they can do for those still alive but affected by foreign wars,” Shine said.
The Bell County Commissioners Court in September designated the county as a Purple Heart County. There are more than 40 Purple Heart counties in Texas, including nearby Williamson and McLennan counties.
The cities of Belton, Salado, Harker Heights and Killeen have Purple Heart designations.
Several Bell County schools and colleges have the designation. Those include Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow, Richard E. Cavazos Elementary in Nolanville, Texas A&M University-Central Texas and Central Texas College in Killeen.
The Legislature will consider Shine’s bill sometime next year. Lawmakers will convene for the 86th legislative session on Jan. 8.