The Clark State Community College Board of Trustees has approved a resolution designating Clark State as a Purple Heart Campus. Clark State joins an elite group of colleges with this designation and is believed to be one of the earliest in Ohio to become a Purple Heart Campus.
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 620 (Springfield, Ohio) approached Clark State administrators about this opportunity during the dedication of Clark State’s Fallen Warrior Memorial last November. The designation is intended to support, honor and welcome veterans and active military members to Clark State’s campuses.
“We sincerely want to welcome our veterans and active military into the Clark State family,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin. “This designation symbolizes our commitment to serve our veteran or active military faculty, staff, students and community members.”
Military serviceman Tyler Ogden was awarded a Purple Heart following injuries he sustained while serving in Iraq in 2011. Ogden remains active in the Ohio Air National Guard, is vice commander for the Springfield Order of the Purple Heart and has attended classes at Clark State. “It’s an awesome thing to know that they are supporting the community veterans,” said Ogden. “I know sometimes as veterans you can get misplaced or misunderstood. When you have a school that is supportive of your goals and ambitions, it really gives the veteran the inspiration and drive to succeed.”
Ogden said it is important to him that Clark State is supporting veterans and military service members. He credits Student Senate member Scott Cody for heading up campus efforts on behalf of veterans. “It’s not about the Purple Heart – we are the voice of those who didn’t make it back,” Ogden said. “We are the people here in support of other veterans. That survival factor helps us relate. It’s symbolizing all of those who haven’t made it back.”
Second year Clark State student and military veteran Scott Cody served seven years in the Ohio Army National Guard and completed a tour in Iraq. “Becoming a Purple Heart Campus is a big deal for us,” said Cody.
Cody was the mastermind behind the Clark State Fallen Warrior Memorial and is also working on a campus veteran’s lounge. “I thank Clark State for not only supporting everything I've brought to them, but for their genuine commitment to our veterans,” he said. “I would not be surprised if I hear one day Clark State is the best school for veterans in the country.”
The Military Order of the Purple Heart organization was formed in 1931 and remains the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization comprised strictly of combat veterans. An official ceremony commemorating Clark State’s Purple Heart Campus designation will be held on April 29.