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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Lakewood, Washington --  August 23, 2010

Military Order of the Purple Heart Elects Bruce McKenty as National Junior Vice Commander

On August 14, 2010, Bruce McKenty of Lakewood, Washington was elected as National Junior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a national veteran service organization with more than 44,000 members.

Bruce is a 1970 graduate of Texas A&M University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Field Artillery.  Upon entry onto active duty he completed his Officer Basic Course at Fort Sill, OK and went on to flight school in route to his first assignment – Vietnam, where he was assigned to F Troop, 1/9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division at Bien Hoa as an AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter pilot.  During his tour he was wounded twice and has the unique distinction of being one of a small handful of Army helicopter pilots who survived being shot down with an SA-7 heat seeking missile.  During his tour he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, Two Purple Hearts, and numerous Air Medals, with three being awarded for valor. 

Bruce went on to spend 21 years in the Army serving in various command and staff assignments in Field Artillery and Aviation, and retired in 1991 as a Lieutenant Colonel.  During his Army career he earned a Master of Science from the University of Southern California in 1984 and in 1986 graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS.  After his retirement from the Army, Bruce was a general contractor in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area until his final retirement in 2001. 

In 2002 he joined the Military Order of the Purple Heart and discovered one of his greatest passions, that of being a volunteer service officer for his local chapter, assisting all veterans to receive their rightful benefits from the Veterans Administration and other government agencies.  He continues to perform these heart-warming duties to this day.  In 2004 he discovered another of his volunteer passions as a volunteer at the local VA golf course.  The American Lake Veterans Golf Course located at the American Lake VA Hospital in Lakewood, Washington lost all federal funding in 1995.  That year, a group of volunteers petitioned the VA to keep the golf course operating with volunteers and donations.  It has not only survived but has blossomed into a beautiful facility and will only get better through the help of volunteers like Bruce.  He started and ran the golf course marshal program and organized and managed tournaments for disabled veterans, is on the Board of Directors, is the project manager for the new 8400 square foot Rehabilitation / Learning Center and future nine-hole addition, currently being designed by Jack Nicklaus and is presently the golf course manager (all volunteer positions).  Since joining The Order in 2002 Bruce has been the adjutant, finance officer, and service officer at chapter and department levels, was elected four times as Department Commander and twice as the Commander of National Region III.  He looks forward to working with the current and future leadership to further advance the mission and goals of The Order.
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 combat wounded veterans and active duty men and women 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, through veteran service, 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 selflessly provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA medical facilities and State Veterans Homes.

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