O'Charley's honors hometown Purple Heart recipients - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

O'Charley's honors hometown Purple Heart recipients

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Two Purple Heart recipients were recognized as part of the reopening of the O'Charley's on Hurstbourne Parkway.

O'Charley's is Honoring Hometown heroes at over 40 locations across the U.S. Army veteran Kyle Lankford and Army Sergeant First Class David Kearns were chosen as Louisville's Hometown Heroes.

Lankford, a Louisville native, joined the Army Reserves in 1998 and began serving as active duty in 2005. He completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and Advanced Initial Training at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas. From 2008 to 2009, Lankford served in Iraq and fought during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was a Sergeant E-5 and served as his team's Medic and Advisor to the 4th Iraqi Army Division's Surgeon. During his deployment to Iraq, Lankford was combat wounded along with one of his team members. He was medically retired in 2011 due to combat-related injuries. Lankford's final rank was Staff Sergeant E-6. He earned a Bronze Star and received a Purple Heart for his service. Currently, Lankford is serving as the Junior Vice of the local Louisville Bluegrass Chapter 146 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He has also assisted in starting and serves on the board of a local non-profit called Dogs Helping Heroes. The organization rescues dogs and trains them to be placed with wounded veterans, local police, fire and EMS to help them reintegrate back into the community.

Kearns joined the Army in 1990. He completed basics at Fort Dix, New Jersey and then went to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Edgewood, Maryland for Advanced Individual Training as a Light/Heavy Wheel Mechanic. Kearns was stationed at several Army bases across the U.S. and was serving active duty during both Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as conflicts in Bosnia and Haiti in the early to mid 90s. He was deployed in 2008 to serve as a Maintenance Advisor to the 4th Iraqi Division. Kearns was combat wounded while deployed in Iraq, but was able to continue serving. From 2009 to 2013, he was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington as an Observer Controller/Trainer, and is currently stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky as Maintenance Management Supervisor with the rank of Sergeant First Class E-7. Kearns received a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge for his actions in Iraq. He is also a member of the Louisville Bluegrass Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and is an advisor for Dogs Helping Heroes. Kearns is three classes away from earning his Masters of Business Administration in Human Resources.

"These men and women who serve our country are true American heroes, and it's important for O'Charley's to say "thank you" in the best way we know by inviting the individuals and their families to their local restaurant for a night of celebration, food and great service," said Mickey Mills, president of O'Charley's. "It's an honor to know that these veterans and soldiers – our local Hometown Heroes – will be among the first to experience the revitalized restaurants."

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