Leaders of the nonprofit Military Order of the Purple Heart wants to see an increase in membership.
According to Larry Leighton, MOPH Arizona Department adjutant, there are more than 600,000 military veterans in Arizona, but the state’s MOPH organization has only 1,073 members.
“We feel strongly there are many more Purple Heart recipients who live here full- or part-time that could be members,” he stated in an email.
Chartered by Congress for combat wounded veterans, the medal is bestowed to men and woman for wounds suffered in combat or by an act of international terrorism. While it is difficult to establish an exact amount of Purple Heart awards, through June 5, 2010 it is roughly estimated the U.S. military presented 1.8 million Purple Hearts since World War I. More than half were earned during World War II. The award was officially established in 1932, but some recipients were recognized retroactively back to 1917, according to information on the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor website, thepurpleheart.com.
There are nine MOPH chapters in Arizona. In the Phoenix metro area, Chapter 691 serves the West Valley, Chapter 790 is based in Scottsdale, Chapter 1958 is in Chandler and Chapter 2560 in Apache Junction.
The mission of the MOPH is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism and support necessary legislative initiatives, according to Mr. Leighton.
“Although our membership is restricted to the combat wounded, we support all veterans and their families,” he stated. “There are a variety of programs offered through the chapters.”
Purple Heart recipients interested in joining the organization are asked to complete a 10-minute survey at questionpro.com/AQNdaZhd2D.