ROCKINGHAM — Kenneth Robinette received a certificate of appreciation from the Military Order of the Purple Heart earlier this month for donating the funds needed to purchase signs indicating Richmond’s status as a Purple Heart County.
Dennis Holloway said the purpose of designating a Purple Heart County is to “…open up to make easier access for Purple Heart recipients” in the form of reserved parking spaces closer to buildings and marked with special signs.
Holloway also said that the local chapter’s chaplain, Charlie Tyler, was instrumental in getting these signs placed.
“He had to contact the national Purple Heart association to have the county recognized,” he said. “And then he had to go and find a place that could make the signs. He surveyed around the county to see how many signs it would take, and went out to all the businesses to see if they would allow the signs to be put up in their lots.
“There are signs on all the major highways,” he continued. “The shopping centers have all got the signs up, and the majority of the local businesses have them now.”
Chapter Commander Buddy Caulder presented the certificate to Robinette.
“It was a real honor to receive that certificate,” Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, told the Daily Journal in a telephone conversation Thursday. “I just don’t want people to forget the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought for our freedom. We’ve got a lot of them, and they continue to work for so many other worthy causes in our county, such as building ramps, food ministry, even setting up the ice rink at the shopping center last year — they were instrumental in that.”
Holloway said it was Robinette who made the donation for buying the signs that are now prominent on the major highways leading into the county.
“They were about $150 a piece and I think there were eight of those,” Holloway said.
Robinette said that the county’s Purple Heart recipients are always first to respond whenever there is a need.
“And they never complain,” he added. “Just like with the Smith House (The Claude and Lois Smith Family Care Home), before it opened, they worked about three months out there. They continue to serve our men, women and children. Their whole lives they’ve done nothing but serve others, and they continue doing it every day of their lives.”
Holloway added that they also help other veterans to get to and from medical appointments.
“They need to be recognized. This is a small token of my appreciation for what they do and continue doing,” Robinette said of his donation for the signs. “It’s a great organization and a great group, and I just want to show my appreciation.”
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.