The Cambrian

Wounded vets get reserved parking at Cambria Veterans Memorial Building

One of the new Purple Heart signs at the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot in Cambria.
One of the new Purple Heart signs at the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot in Cambria.

“Purple heart” combat-wounded veterans have some special places to park at Cambria’s Veterans Memorial Building, now that a couple of spaces there have been reserved just for them.

One space is in front of the hall; the other is on the northwest side, near the American Legion Post hall.

It’s taken a while to get the purple-and-white signs from idea to local installation.

Cambria Community Services District Director Michael Thompson brought the concept home after seeing similar signs while on vacation in Texas. The district owns the hall and the lot.

In June, Thompson and his peers on the board unanimously approved designating the spaces and installing the signs that display a heart-shaped shield in the middle.

Carlos Mendoza, supervisor of district resources and facilities, notified General Manager Jerry Gruber and the directors March 29 that the signs were in place.

Mendoza’s announcement produced a flurry of emailed kudos and cheers.

Board President Gail Robinette replied, “What a wonderful way to honor our veterans!” The signs “speak to how much we appreciate those who have served our country.” She thanked those who made it happen, especially Thompson, “as we say ‘thank you’ and honor our fellow Cambrians.”

Mel McColloch, a vet who also has been president for many years of the Cambria Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said, “Thank you very much on behalf of all Purple Heart veterans and disabled veterans.”

Thompson said he felt it was fitting “that we honor our combat wounded vets at our Veterans Memorial Building. Thanks also to (fellow director) Greg Sanders for procuring the signs,” which are provided from the Wounded Warrior Family Support program.

All three men are active in the Legion post.

Thompson noted at the June CSD meeting that parking in those spaces is done on the honor system, and no citations would be issued for infractions.

Not only is strict enforcement not the message the district is trying to send with the reserved spots, enforcement would be difficult to implement.

Special license plates and frames that designate wounded combat vets are available. However, many eligible veterans don’t have those on their vehicles, making it difficult for law enforcement to establish who is and isn’t qualified to park in the reserved spots.