TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama plans to unveil a parking space on campus for Purple Heart recipients on Wednesday.

“Honoring veterans in this way shows the commitment and dedication UA has for taking care of these students,” said David Blair, director of the UA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, in a statement released by the university. “This is just one more reason UA continues to be recognized as a top military- and veteran-friendly university. Currently we serve just over 4,000 veterans, service members and dependents.”

The parking space near the Ferguson Student Center will be unveiled during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The ceremony will be held in the lot and include comments by members of UA’s veterans community, including retired Air Force Col. and Purple Heart recipient Duane Lamb, assistant vice president for facilities and grounds and commander of the Purple Heart chapter in Tuscaloosa. The award is given to men or women who have either been wounded or killed in combat.

The parking space at the southwest corner of the Ferguson Center parking lot will be designated with purple striping, a marker and the logo of the medal painted on the asphalt. The spot will be available to Purple Heart recipients who register with parking services.

UA has two registered Purple Heart recipients in its student body, according to the university. UA’s Purple Heart recipients can register with UA’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs for parking hang-tags that will allow them to use the spot. The tags will also be valid for any spot or zone on campus, except for spaces for disabled people, according to the university.

The UA Military Law Society proposed to UA Transportation Services the idea of honoring Purple Heart veterans with the spot.

“My grandfather, who was a sniper in the Marine Corps, was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in the Marshall Islands during World War II,” said UA law student Steven Arango, a second lieutenant in the Marines on reserve status and president of the society. “This is something that’s been on my heart. I’ve seen similar parking spaces at Home Depot, and anytime we can do something on campus to honor our veterans, I’m all for it.”

Arango’s step-brother, Flynn Bluett, helped create the design for the parking space.


Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, http://www.tuscaloosanews.com