Southern Recognized as Purple Heart College

Mount Gay, W.Va. - Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has been recognized as a Purple Heart College, and now has a Purple Heart parking spot reserved for wounded combat veterans on its Logan campus.

Charles Baisden, Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 733, presented a plaque of appreciation to Southern’s President, Dr. Robert Gunter, in recognition of Southern’s support of military members, including veterans and their families.

“Our community has always taken great pride in our military veterans, and our college family wanted to have something tangible that would show our appreciation,” Dr. Gunter said. “Our armed forces have literally risked or given their lives to provide us the freedoms and rights we enjoy today, and this is a small gesture of our enormous gratitude to them, and to everyone who has answered the call for our country.”

Southern now joins a small list of other colleges or universities in West Virginia that have this distinction, including Marshall University, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, and BridgeValley Community and Technical College.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use, and was initially created as the Badge of Military Merit by George Washington in 1782. The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy, and awarded posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration.

The organization now known as the Military Order of the Purple Heart was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Composed exclusively of Purple Heart recipients, it is the only veterans service organization comprised strictly of combat veterans.