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SANDPOINT — The Military Order of Idaho’s Purple Heart Department is working to launch an effort to adopt the Purple Heart parking initiative in Bonner County.
The group is also working to launch the effort in Boundary and Kootenai counties.
The MOPH is a non-profit organization that raises funds for programs and services that help Purple Heart recipients and their families. The initiative is one of those programs.
The Purple Heart Parking Initiative is a national program that is adopted county by county and is used across the United States to show honor and respect to award recipients. This program does this by partnering with local businesses to designate an unreserved parking spot, near or adjacent to handicapped parking, as Purple Heart Parking and erecting a plaque to reserve that spot for Purple Heart recipients. .
The initiative could help many Purple Heart recipients who may not qualify for disabled parking, such as combat wounded or seniors, as it will allow all Purple Heart recipients to use the parking lot. There will be no license or license plate requirements, just proving they have a Purple Heart if approached by an officer.
Being the first of its kind in northern Idaho, Dr. Dale Wilson, a MOPH judge advocate and retired Army major who served in Vietnam, undertook this project at a recent meeting.
“Such an effort will be an exceptional way to honor our wounded-in-battle veterans,” Wilson said, “and also educate local residents about their presence in our communities.”
In addition to looking for businesses willing to participate, MOPH is looking for a local Boy Scout who might consider joining the effort as a Project Eagle Scout.
“I just felt like this was the perfect opportunity for an Eagle Scout project,” Wilson said.
Only one young man will be chosen and will only have to be “enthusiastic and have the desire to do it”. The scout will develop a plan, with the help of the MOPH, to approach businesses and build relationships. Once a plan has been formed, the scout and a MOPH mentor will work to implement said plan, with the scout taking the lead position, Wilson said.
“I want [the scout] kind of taking a leading cause will be an Eagle Scout project,” Wilson said.
Local business owners and Scout leaders interested in getting involved are encouraged to contact Wilson by email at [email protected] or by phone at (208) 290-1986