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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Washington DC - March 24, 2012

MOPH Salutes James L. McCormick on Receipt of Prestigious 2012 Citizen Service Before Self Award

On Friday, Marcy 23, 2012, James McCormick of New Haven, West Virginia, was honored by The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation with one of America’s most prestigious civilian awards, the “Citizen Service Before Self Award,” for his work in helping veterans find jobs and housing.  After a year-long, nationwide search and selection process, McCormick and two other Americans were given special recognition for their “indomitable courage and willingness to sacrifice for others through a prolonged series of selfless acts.”  Citizen Service Before Self Honors are unique, because they are presented to unsung heroes by our nation’s most honored heroes—the fewer than 85 living Medal of Honor recipients who comprise the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

The awards ceremony is one of the highlights of National Medal of Honor Day, which last year marked the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Medal of Honor and the more than 150 years of courage and sacrifice on the part of the millions of men and women who defended our freedoms in uniform.  This year’s ceremony took place in the shadow of the ultimate symbol of anonymous heroism – the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The  anonymous soldiers who have found eternal rest in the Tomb, have all been presented with our nation’s highest award for valor in combat, The Medal of Honor. At the east side of the Tomb is a sculpture of three Greek citizens, each representing the virtues of Peace, Victory and Valor. To show the link between anonymous heroism in and out of uniform, the Citizen Service Before Self Honors Medal bears the three figures on its face. 

Each honoree receives the Citizen Service Before Self Honors Medal and an embossed certificate, signed by the President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  David McIntyre, president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation noted that “Every day in this country, ordinary Americans become extraordinary. It can happen in an instance of bravery, or through a lifetime of placing others before themselves. These acts of courage and self-sacrifice would inspire us all, if only we knew about them. The time has come to stand up and celebrate, in our towns and in our cities, the selfless heroism that symbolizes the American spirit.  The Citizen Service Before Self Honors award is presented by a group of Americans whose actions have defined the word courage – the fewer than 85 living members of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.”

Patriot McCormick, a retired Army captain and a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, has been a Life Member of Chapter 1863 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) since 2008.   He was wounded on three separate occasions during combat operations in Iraq during 2004-2005, for which he received three Purple Heart Medals.  McCormick retired in 2009 as a company commander after 22 years of military service; all but six of them as an enlisted man, and is now dedicating his life to serving America’s veterans.

James McCormick Receives the Purple Heart Medal

In 2011, McCormick founded “Raising Cane Farms” to produce bamboo for use in landscaping, soil stabilization, flooring, and in its sprout stage, as a food source. McCormick uses his farm as an educational center and place of employment for returning combat-wounded veterans adjusting to post-war life, and particularly those veterans recovering from combat disabilities.  According to McCormick, “Raising Cane Farms began with my return from combat as a wounded warrior who struggled with various issues.  I was challenged from the start and began assisting veterans with various VA claims issues.  This grew to assisting veterans with applications for assistance, and with job search and interview preparation. Trying to navigate this complex system of disparate government organizations is confusing -- veterans need a mentor or coach to nudge them in the right direction.  Just knowing someone cared enough to even talk with me was important and I saw this as a common feeling among veterans. The name ‘Raising Cane’ says it all, we do whatever it takes to ensure veterans are cared for and families of the fallen are not left behind.”  McCormick is now even working with a manufacturer of prefabricated cabins to add a residential component to Raising Cane Farms.

In his “spare time,” McCormick assists veterans with their VA casework, provides counsel to veterans with suicidal tendencies, and makes arrangements for various veteran’s parades and tributes, all through his role on the New Haven City Planning Committee.  Until recently, he served as a disabled veteran outreach specialist for Workforce West Virginia, helping unemployed veterans find jobs.  Finally, he works with the West Virginia State Veterans Coalition in seeking state-level legislation to improve benefits and privileges for veterans.  Last year, McCormick wrote a proposal to have August 7th designated as West Virginia Purple Heart Day.  ”Instead, Governor Tomblin made all of August West Virginia Purple Heart Month," he said. "It was a wonderful surprise." 

As if not already fully engaged, when not doing excavation or working on a greenhouse at Raising Cane Farms, McCormick finds time to minister to his congregation at the New Haven House of Prayer.  McCormick humbly tells others, “I have done nothing special really, I’m just doing what someone would do for me. I am just a simple guy trying to pitch in where I can.  I just strive to always try to do what God tells us all to to do, ‘Love thy neighbor.”  I would be nothing without God and he deserves all the credit, which is why it’s called Amazing Grace.”  James McCormick’s dedication to helping thousands of homeless veterans continues to be an inspiration and a credit to the State of West Virginia, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and to his fellow Americans.

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
MOPH on the Web
MOPH on Facebook
MOPH on Twitter
MOPH on YouTube

For information on Raising Cane Farms or to donate, contact: James L. McCormick, PO BOX 883, New Haven, WV 25265 Phone: 304-882-3769; Email: james261968@hotmail.com

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