Veterans Sell Dog Tags For Scholarship Fund

Mitzi Breazeale of Gulfport earns the honor of being the first Mississippian to buy a set of military dog tags. She's about to get it engraved.

Mitzi Breazeale said "It is going to say help pray and support our troops for a safe return. I'm going to wear it with pride".

On Wednesday, members of the "Military Order of the Purple Heart" began selling military dog tags. The metal tags are used to identify soldiers. Purple Heart recipient Ray Funderburk came up with the idea to start selling it to the public.

Ray Funderburk said "We're going to use this money for scholarships. We're going to set up endowments at universities and colleges throughout the nation, so that kids whose moms and dads who were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan have a chance to go to college".

That means a college education won't be impossible for two-year-old Walker. His dad, 2nd Lt. Matt Stovall, was killed in Iraq two weeks ago. And Staff Sargeant Aaron Holleyman's three young children will also benefit from the fund.

Purple Heart recipient Henry Cook said "His unit was the same unit I served with during my first war years in Viet Nam. He made the ultimate sacrifice for it, and we intend to do what we can to take care of his family right here in Mississippi".

Purple Heart recipient Ernest Brant said "I think back to when I first returned from Viet Nam, and I think of the families that I had to make the notifications of a death of their loved ones, and I think of their children".

The veterans' organization hopes to raise at least $10 million to help families left to carry on. Cook said "Of course the goal is ambitious, because it's a very worthy program and worthy programs are worth ambitious goals".

Each set of military dog tags costs $10. You can get it engraved with up to a five-line message. The veterans hope to sell one million dog tags during the year-long campaign.

You can order the tags by sending a check or money order to this address: Purple Heart Dog Tags P.O. Box 848 Annandale, VA 22003 By:

Trang Pham-Bui