According to a report from the University of Alabama News, the school’s two Purple Heart recipients will soon have premium parking privileges on campus. As most of our readers know, Purple Hearts are commendations given to those who’ve been wounded in combat, and the University is rewarding those recipients with special parking privileges.
Alabama law student Steven Arango is a second lieutenant in the Marines and is on reserve status while he attends law school in Tuscaloosa. The Clearwater, Florida native was commissioned in August of last year and is a president of the UA Military Law Society. The Military Law Society proposed the idea to Chris D’Esposito, director, UA Transportation Arango’s step-brother, Flynn Bluett, helped create the design for this parking space.
“My grandfather, who was a sniper in the Marine Corps, was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in the Marshall Islands during World War II,” Arango said. “This is something that’s been on my heart. I’ve seen similar parking spaces at Home Depot, and anytime we can do something on campus to honor our veterans, I’m all for it.”
On Aug. 9 at 11 a.m., the University of Alabama will unveil the new parking space in the Ferguson Center parking lot designated only for U.S. combat veterans who have received the Purple Heart. The designation of the UA site will be a Purple Heart logo, and a post in front of the space bearing the same mark.
The ceremony will be held in the Ferguson Center, west of the building on Campus Drive. Veterans affiliated with the University of Alabama will speak during the ceremony, including retired Air Force Colonel and Purple Heart recipient Duane Lamb. Col. Lamb is the assistant vice president for facilities and grounds and commander of Tuscaloosa’s Purple Heart chapter.
David Blair, director of that UA’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs said their organization is honored to be a part of this project.
“Honoring veterans in this way shows the commitment and dedication UA has for taking care of these students. This is just one more reason UA continues to be recognized as a Top Military and Veteran friendly university. Currently we serve just over 4,000 veterans, service members, and dependents. The financial impact these students have at UA and in the local community annually is well over $40 million.”
Currently, two registered Purple Heart recipients belong to the University of Alabama’s student body, which is designated as a Purple Heart University—a special designation given to universities that recognize veterans wounded in combat. UA’s Purple Heart recipients will register with Veteran and Military Affairs and receive a Purple Heart hang-tag for their vehicles that will allow them to use the specially-designated. The tag will also allow the honored veterans to park in any spot or zone on campus, except for handicapped spaces.