MIX Business Manager Byrd’s Husband Receives Purple Heart

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MIX Business Manager Byrd’s Husband Receives Purple Heart

Deana Byrd & Dean Novotny
WRAL-FM’s Deana Byrd stands proudly by her husband, U.S. Army CW4 Dean Novotny after the ceremony where he received his Purple Heart.
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WRAL-FM Business Manager Deana Byrd is married to a hero.  Her husband, CW4 US Army Dean Novotny recently received a Purple Heart for being wounded as he served our country in Afghanistan last year.

Byrd and Novotny were married on Veteran’s Day in 2011.  He then deployed for a yearlong tour in Afghanistan, his seventh in the country, the following January.  In August 2012, he was travelling in an undisclosed location when his vehicle was hit by an IED.  Thankfully, he and his fellow soldiers were riding in a newly designed vehicle with a boat-shaped bottom, created to deflect such bomb impacts.  If not for that design, all the men would’ve been killed.

As it was, the doors on the vehicle were blown open; Novotny was riding in the passenger seat.  He’d had his gun on his right shoulder.  After the impact the doors slammed shut; Novotny was in the vehicle but his gun was never found.

Novotny called Byrd from the traumatic brain injury unit letting her know he had a severe concussion.  In the weeks following he couldn’t remember many things, and still has memory issues today.

Dean Novotny
CW4 Dean Novotny in Afghanistan last year.

Novotny is a dedicated soldier who is passionate about the military.  He graduated at the top of his high school class and had a full ride to Princeton to play football, but he chose to enlist instead.  He is in the Army Special Forces Green Beret Airborne.  He’s been in the military for 22 ½ years, serving in a variety of places including Afghanistan. 

On this most recent tour he worked with Village Stability Ops, developing relationships so villages have confidence in the U.S. military so the two can work together.

Novotny received his Purple Heart in a Valor Award ceremony on March 21, 2013, at the JFK Auditorium on Fort Bragg in Fayetteville.  Byrd was by his side at the ceremony.  Brigadier General Christopher K. Haas, Commanding General U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) presented the Purple Heart to Novotny.

While in Afghanistan Novotny received regular care packages from Byrd and the CBC’ers at WRAL-FM and 99.9 The Fan.  Byrd kept a box outside her office where employees brought goodies, snacks and other items for her to mail to him.  That collection brought about a special relationship.

Dean Novotny
CW4 Dean Novotny visits with elementary school students in Burlington, NC. They wrote to him, sending pictures & cards while he was overseas.

99.9 The Fan Account Executive Jackie Catlin’s mother in a school teacher at an elementary school in Burlington, NC.  Catlin told her Mom about Novotny being a soldier deployed in Afghanistan.  Her mother got the students at her school to start making pictures and cards and writing letters to him.  Byrd then would send them overseas.  Novotny lined his walls with the missives from the elementary students.  Both he and Byrd were so touched that when he returned, they went to Burlington so he could meet the children in person. 

Novotny created a special Power Point presentation to share with the students.  They were awed when he showed pictures of his room and how he’d wallpapered it with their letters and pictures.  Byrd said he was like a rock star walking down the halls in the way the kids reacted to him, shouting out and applauding him.

Thanks to Dean Novotny for his valiant service to our country and for making the connection to a bunch of N.C. children who now have a real connection to our military.

About The Purple Heart
Awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of an Armed Force or any civilian national of the United States who has been wounded or killed, or who has died after being wounded.  While clearly an individual decoration, the Purple Heart differs from all other decorations, in that an individual is not recommended for the decoration; rather he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria.

Thanks to WRAL-FM’s Deana Byrd for these capcom photos.


U.S. Army CW4 Dean Novotny Honored with Purple Heart

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