(Posted Sept. 8, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Jerry H. Ferrell, a disabled military veteran and Fairborn, Ohio, resident, is on a mission to honor Purple Heart recipients. London city council recently voted to support that mission.
Ferrell’s quest is to have parking spots designated 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 those veterans’ lives a little easier in their own towns,” said Ferrell, whose uncle was a Purple Heart recipient in World War II and whose father served in the military.
The Purple Heart is a combat medal awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.
Ferrell came up with the parking spots idea through his involvement with state and regional veterans organizations. Members challenge themselves to pick a goal or project each year. For his Purple Heart parking project, Ferrell handles all the promotion and logistics and personally covers all expenses.
So far, he has succeeded in having approximately 25 spots set aside and signs installed in various communities. The spots can be found at 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 Aug. 19 London city council meeting to inform city leaders of his project. Several expressed support.
“I am a Vietnam veteran, and I appreciate what you’re doing. There’s too many of them guys that get forgotten,” said council member Rich Hays.
“I think it’s very important that we recognize our veterans at every opportunity. I come from a family of a lot of veterans…It makes it near and dear to my heart,” said council member Carla Blazier.
Hays sponsored legislation to officially designate the southernmost parking space on the west side of North Main Street, between High and Fourth streets, for use only by Purple Heart recipients. The spot is located near the veterans monument on the courthouse lawn. The legislation came before council for a vote on Sept. 2. Council passed it unanimously.
Ferrell has set up a Facebook page, “Ohio Patriotism,” to document his progress as he works to get signs installed across the state.