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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Washington DC, February 10, 2010

Purple Heart "March on the Hill" (MOTH) Stranded by Blizzard of 2010

After months of planning, weeks of intense preparation and scheduling coordination, the one factor that the Military Order of the Purple Heart had no control over the whims of Mother Nature.

Coming by twos and threes from almost every State and Territory, Capitol Hill should have been awash in a sea of color as  members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart travel the halls of Congress, their distinctive blue blazers adorned with America’s oldest military decoration, the Purple Heart Medal, established by General George Washington in 1782 in Newburgh, New York.  This medal symbolizes the dedicated and selfless service and sacrifice made by military servicemen and women who were wounded in combat against the enemies of the United States of America.

On Friday, February 5, 2010, Washington DC was brought to a standstill by “The Blizzard of 2010”, which dumped more than 3 feet of snow on the region before it was over on Saturday night.  With over 100 Purple Heart recipients scheduled to arrive in the city on Sunday and Monday, the Capital city’s three airports were forced to close, leaving many stranded by cancelled flights and the entire March on the Hill in doubt.  Miraculously, on Monday afternoon they were able to clear one runway each at Dulles and Reagan National Airports, allowing many of the Patriots to slip in just ahead of a second storm that hit on Tuesday afternoon, dropping another 2 feet of snow.

On Tuesday morning, those Members who were able to make the trek were able to dodge snow plows, disabled Metro subway cars, and 15 foot drifts, to deliver information packets to all of their scheduled congressional offices.  Officially, the Federal Government was closed for the entire week and many Senators and Members of Congress preferred to remain at home in their districts rather than languish,  snow bound, in Washington DC.  As a result, the Florida Delegation either met with those few staff members who braved the elements to open their offices, or simply slipped an information packet under a closed office door in hopes they would reach the intended recipient.  Unfortunately, the delegation was not able to discuss in detail the five priority issues facing Veterans in 2010 with all the Members of Congress, but were at least able to leave talking points for their information and reference in upcoming hearings on the issues.

This annual “March on the Hill” by MOPH produces real results for the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Veterans it serves.  In 2009, in reaction to a major campaign by all the VSO’s, Congress passed legislation that allows advance funding to ensure that the VA will be able to provide all the health care, hire new medical personnel, and fully operate the clinics and hospitals needed for our Veterans.  According to Hershel Gober, National Legislative Director for the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), “It is important that Members of Congress hear directly from their own MOPH constituents about issues of importance to Veterans in their respective states and nationally.“

This year, MOPH National Commander Jim Sims has asked the Order’s Members to address five top priority issues with their Representatives in the Congress. See the Video here

1) Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) claims system.

2) Concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation.

3) Traumatic brain injury/post traumatic stress disorder (TBI/PTSD).

4)  Elimination of the survivor benefit program (SBP) and the dependent indemnity compensation (DIC) offset.

5) Purple Heart forever stamp.

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) 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 were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.

For information contact:
National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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