Front-row recognition for those who served and sacrificed for our country.
“We wanted to give our combat-wounded veterans access to the front of the building,
but we didn’t want to take away from the handicapped spots,” said Alycia Ziegler, Director of Student Activities at Three Rivers Community College.
The two spots painted purple are reserved for Purple Heart recipients. The school knows of two students and one staff member who have received the military honor.
“I think it’s amazing being an alumni, being a Purple Heart recipient,” said Brent Walker who founded the group Guardians of the Purple Heart.
The non-profit led this effort.
“I was hit by a suicide bomber while I was on foot,” said Walker.
He was wounded in Iraq in 2009 while doing an escort detail.
“Have multiple shrapnel and burn wounds throughout the entirety of my body,” said Walker. “But the jokes on them because I’m still here.”
“It feels great,” said Ziegler. “Mixed with emotion, I’m excited. I’m also feeling a little somber because I was not aware that Brent was a Purple Heart recipient.”
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8 percent of the students at Three Rivers are veterans, but the school expects that number could be higher.
Inside the school, there is a special area where all veterans can study, rest, or just meet up with each other. It’s called the Veterans Oasis Center and it’s also where other students can leave messages of thanks on the outside of the windows of the room. Erasable markers are provided.
Also, as part of the Veterans Day observance, 417 flags fill the Fallen Field of Flags near the driveway entrance to the school. People paid a dollar each to have them planted in honor of their loved ones.