(Posted on September 8, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Editor-in-Chief of Madison
Jerry H. Ferrell, a disabled military veteran and resident of Fairborn, Ohio, is on a mission to honor Purple Heart recipients. London City Council recently voted in favor of this mission.
Ferrell’s quest is to have designated parking spaces in each of Ohio’s 88 counties for use only by Purple Heart recipients.
“It’s a way for the community to say ‘Thank you for your service’ and a way to make the lives of these veterans a little easier in their own town,” said Ferrell, whose uncle was a recipient of Purple Heart during WWII. and whose father served in the army.
The Purple Heart is a combat medal awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin on behalf of those killed in action or die of injuries received in action.
Ferrell came up with the idea for the parking spaces through his involvement with state and regional veterans organizations. Members challenge each other to choose a goal or project each year. For his Purple Heart parking project, Ferrell takes care of all the promotion and logistics and personally covers all expenses.
So far, he has managed to reserve around 25 locations and put up signs in various communities. The spots can be found in government offices, businesses, churches, schools, and medical facilities. The first sign was installed at the Fairborn municipal building. One of the latest will be at the Madison County Courthouse in London.
Ferrell attended the London City Council meeting on August 19 to brief city leaders on his plan. Several expressed their support.
“I am a Vietnam veteran and I appreciate what you are doing. There are too many of them that are being forgotten, ”said Rich Hays, board member.
“I think it’s very important that we recognize our veterans at every opportunity. I come from a family of many veterans… It is close to my heart, said Carla Blazier, board member.
Hays sponsored a law to officially designate the southernmost parking space on the west side of North Main Street, between High and Fourth streets, for the exclusive use of Purple Heart beneficiaries. The place is located near the war veterans monument on the courthouse lawn. The bill went to council for a vote on September 2. The council adopted it unanimously.
Ferrell has created a Facebook page, “Ohio Patriotism,” to document his progress as he works to install signs statewide.