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The Military Order of the Purple Heart


Norfolk, VA, August 15, 2016

Patriot Hershel Gober Elected National Commander at the 84th National Convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Norfolk, Virginia

The 84th Annual Convention of The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) and the 83d National Convention of the Ladies Auxiliary of the MOPH concluded Sunday in Norfolk, Virginia with the election of new officers for the upcoming year. Patriot Hershel Gober, a combat wounded veteran from Palm Coast, Florida was elected as National Commander. Elected as National Senior Vice Commander was Jason Johns, a combat wounded veteran from Oregon, Wisconsin. Elected as National Junior Vice Commander was Neil Van Ess, a combat wounded veteran from Totowa, New Jersey.

Elected as President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart was Terri Shattuck of Michigan. Gloria Sanchez of Florida was elected as Senior Vice President, and Diane Petrini of California was elected as Junior Vice President.

Among the highlights of this year’s Convention, was the opening address by Secretary Robert A. McDonald, U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs, who informed the convention delegates about actions underway and planned for the immediate future to improve the VA Health Care System. The election of Hershel Gober, a former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and long-time MOPH National Legislative Director, brings a new depth of experience to the position of National Commander of the Order. After being sworn in to his new position, Gober said, “I could not be more proud than to serve as Commander of our Nation’s bravest combat heroes, those Purple Heart recipients who have shed their blood to defend the freedoms that all Americans are blessed to enjoy.”

Also noteworthy was the election of Patriot Jason Johns as National Senior Vice Commander, making him the first post 9/11 combat wounded veteran to assume a National leadership position. In an address to the members, Johns said, “I have been entrusted with the mission of carrying on the traditions and legacy of this great Order by my generation, and just as important, to honor the generations of combat wounded veterans that came before us. It is a duty I am honored to have and do not take lightly.” The newly elected Jr. Vice Commander Neil Van Ess, also a long-time advocate for veterans and their families, and a retired New Jersey law enforcement officer, said “I am humbled by your trust. As you know, working on behalf of veterans is my passion. I truly look forward to working together – not only with the leadership team, but the entire Order, as we honor the present, remember the past, and preserve our legacy as we work to make this the most productive year in the history of the Order.”

Patriot Richard Hunt from Florida was singled out for recognition as the National Patriot of the Year for his many contributions to the Order and to all veterans and their families. Ms. Joyce Woo, Chief Accounting Officer, was selected as the MOPH Employee of the Year. Thirty-two applicants received education scholarships, while MSgt Bryan Louzensky was selected for special recognition as this year’s recipient of the Navy Seal Lt. Michael Murphy scholarship.

The keynote address at the closing banquet was delivered with great respect by General Robert B. Neller, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. During the “Purple Heart Gala,” ninety-one-year-old former WWII POW Arthur Bishop and his wife Ellen were recognized with the award of the coveted Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion by the Chapel of the Four Chaplains for their years of devoted service to veterans and their families in the State of California.

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) of the U.S.A. Inc.," was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they received the Purple Heart Medal.

For information contact:

National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535

Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org

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