WHEELERSBURG, Ohio — The signs are simple, they’re made of aluminum and read “Combat Wounded,” illustrated with a Purple Heart.
But the gesture is huge, paying tribute to wounded veterans in southern Ohio.
The signs were provided by the Wounded Warriors Family Support (WWFS), an Omaha, Nebraska-based group that helps families of injured or killed soldiers and they stand in the parking lot of Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in Wheelersburg.
“I’m a veteran myself,” said human resources manager Matt Toad. “I served in the Gulf War.”
The spots will not only draw attention to the fact that there are wounded veterans but also allows them to park close to their destinations, sparing the injured veterans from long walks.
“We’ve had several people come in and tell us they appreciate what we’ve done, whether they’ve served or not, ” said an assistant manager for the store.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart is composed of military men and women who received the Purple Heart medal for wounds suffered in combat. According to the WWFS, there are an estimated 1.8 million Purple Heart recipients, combat wounded service members who have transitioned back into civilian life.
“I think it’s a good thing frankly, recognizing that we have veterans that are wounded and may have difficulties,” said Local professor Stephen Harvey.
Harvey served in the Navy from 1969 through 1972 and while Harvey was never wounded in combat, many of his comrades were.
“It helps people in the community to realize that they serve a vital function and they’ve helped to protect our country and should be respected and honored. Lowe’s does a good job in respecting vets, they still give veterans a discount when you show your military ID, or your VA card. They give a 10 percent discount, not a lot of places do that anymore. It’s nice to see they still care,” said Harvey.
Establishments interested in obtaining the signs can simply apply online at www.wwfs.org/mobility-is-freedom/combat-wounded-parking-signs, provide only the shipping costs and install the signs according to their local guidelines for handicapped-accessible parking signs, and in compliance with the Ohio Department of Transportation rules.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext 1932, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times” or Twitter @PDT_Ciara