Purple Parking is Here

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Felipe Gutierrez With Purple Heart Parking Sign Image

TMCC Veterans Associate Felipe Gutierrez shows the location of the new Purple Heart designated parking space.

Truckee Meadows Community College has become the first Purple Heart College in Nevada, achieving a goal and dream of student and staff veterans who saw the designated Purple Heart signs in other locations and wanted to bring the idea home to their own college.

TMCC Veterans Associate Felipe Gutierrez had noticed Purple Heart designated places, or “purple parking” near state and city buildings. He and Veterans Resource Center Coordinator Zack Totans initially saw the signs while at a January veterans’ conference in San Antonio, Texas.

“We first saw these parking signs at a national conference and thought it would be great to have one at TMCC,” Gutierrez said. “The official sign shows we value our combat wounded and our veterans, and the sacrifice they made for our freedoms.”

Veterans at TMCC would like to invite the community to the unveiling ceremony of the Purple Heart parking sign.

  • When: Wednesday, May 2, 10 a.m.
  • Where: Near the police entrance and receiving dock, adjacent to the Red Mountain Building

A proclamation will be read at the ceremony on May 2. College President Karin Hilgersom, Ph.D. will ceremonially sign the proclamation that TMCC is a Purple Heart College. Truckee Meadows Veterans Club (TMVC) President Gunnar Annis will present a few words about the significance of the designation.

A member of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart will also give a brief talk about the mission of the national organization.

The official Purple Heart parking sign will be unveiled by a TMCC student veteran.

Purple Heart parking will be a special designated space near the University Police Services parking area. It is a spot donated by Facilities Operations and Capital Planning to be used by disabled or injured veterans, Gutierrez said.

He also took steps to ensure due diligence and phoned the national organization to verify that TMCC is the first college in the state to become a Purple Heart school.

The Purple Heart Medal

The Purple Heart Medal was initiated by George Washington in 1782 to award military merit, Gutierrez said. It can also be awarded to the families of veterans.

In addition, there is a Purple Heart Trail, consisting of highway segments in various U.S. locations that feature veteran-related monuments along the way.

“There are stops at cities that are known to be Purple Heart friendly,” he said. “It symbolizes our support for wounded veterans.”
Military Order of the Purple Heart is nationally headquartered in Springfield, Virginia. It provides scholarships for veterans and promotes awareness for issues affecting those wounded in action.

The Framed Proclamation

Three copies of the proclamation have been printed and framed, one for Dr. Hilgersom’s office, one for the Veterans Resource Center (VRC), and one for the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

For more information about support services for student veterans at TMCC, please call the Veterans Resource Center at 775-337-5612, and for prospective students please call Veterans Upward Bound at 775-829-9007.