Group Looking To Help Purple Heart Vets

The Military Order of the Purple Heart is offering some post Katrina financial assistance to war veterans wounded fighting for our nation. Members say helping recipients recover from the storm is the least it can do for those who have sacrificed so much.

Korean War Veteran Louis "Paul" Eaves lost his leg during battle in 1952.

"I was hit by a small mortar. It landed right behind me," Eaves said.

The Purple Heart and other metals he received for his bravery were blown away by Katrina, along with everything else he owned.

"I knew it was a bad storm and I expected to have some damage, but I didn't expect everything to be gone."

Eaves is just one of 200 Purple Heart recipients living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Helping them recover is something the Purple Heart Association says it must do.

"These are members of a society who have, in my estimation, validated their citizenship by having shed blood for their country on the battle fields of this nation, and they deserve whatever we can do for them," Henry Cook with the Purple Heart Association said.

The association is raising funds for storm victims and has given each recipient more than $5,000 so far.

"To date, we've issued checks to about 41 patriots who have lost everything. We're searching for those we have not yet found."

And that's where Purple Heart Service Officer Aires Robinson comes into the picture. He has the job of trying find war veterans displaced by the storm.

"So far in Mississippi the organization has given me 23 members. I have located 16, so far. Hopefully they're looking at this program and they will see me on here and they would call me," Robinson said.

That one call could go a long way.

"The VA has grants for those who lost homes and need to make their new homes more accessible to a person whose confined to a wheelchair."

The organization will also help war veterans like Louis Eaves get replacement medals for the ones he lost, including his Purple Heart.

If you are a Purple Heart recipient, or know one who has not received disaster relief from the Purple Heart Association, call Aires Robinson at (505) 463-6261.

by Al Showers