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The Military Order of the Purple Heart

For Immediate Release

Washington DC, April 22, 2012

Military Order of the Purple Heart Salutes California as the Nation’s First Purple Heart State

The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) is proud and honored to salute California as the first state in the nation to declare itself a “Purple Heart State.”  In recent years, in recognition of the service and sacrifice of each community’s sons and daughters in the war against terrorism, 21 separate cities and 5 counties across the country have proclaimed themselves as a “Purple Heart City” or County.  On April 12, 2012, following the lead of its 10 Cities and 2 Counties, the California legislature, passed a Concurrent Resolution establishing California as the first Purple Heart State in the nation, and on Monday, April 16th, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen signed the legislation into law.

The process began in January, 2012, when MOPH California State Commander Gary “Doc” Rutledge approached Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) to seek assistance in the introduction of legislation to honor recipients of the Purple Heart.  The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to service members who are wounded or killed in combat with enemy forces.  Cook, himself a retired U.S. Marine Colonel with 26 years of military service, is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War where he was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for Valor.  After Cook’s Resolution passed the State Assembly with 68 co-sponsors and a unanimous vote of 69-0, the resolution was introduced to the State Senate where it again was passed unanimously.  After a precedent setting, 90-day final passage from start to finish, Cook stated, "This resolution honors California's large Veteran community and active service members who have been injured or gave the ultimate sacrifice to fight for American values and freedoms. This sends a message to these veterans and active duty members that California appreciates their sacrifice and perseverance to protect and serve the United States. As the nation's first Purple Heart State, California is continuing its tradition of leading the way for the other 49 states."

Don Harper (AL), Bud Simmons (VFW), Hugh Crook (AL),
Assemblyman Paul Cook, Jim Anderson MOPH Dept of CA

In recognition of his faithful and continuous support of Veterans, Assemblyman Cook was recently presented the “Mickey Conroy Legislator of the Year” award by Jim Anderson, Chairman of the California State Commanders Veterans Council (CSCVC) and the official representative of the MOPH Department of California, for his individual leadership and contributions to California's active-duty military, National Guard, Reserves, and Veterans during his tenure at the State Capitol.  The CSCVC is a coalition of all California based Veteran Service Organizations who work with the Governor and State Legislature to ensure the rights and benefits of all Veterans and their families are protected.  "Taking care of the needs of veterans has been my mission during my time as a lawmaker, and I'm proud to serve those who have put their lives on the line to protect our nation," said Cook.  Also honored was Cook’s Legislative Aide, Lyndsay Roberts, for her outstanding assistance in drafting and moving the Purple Heart State legislation through the State Assembly.

Assemblyman Paul Cook, Lyndsay Roberts, Jim Anderson

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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