Signs referencing Washington’s status as a Purple Heart State will be going up soon around Washington, according to a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
The signs are a part of the Purple Heart State Washington Highway Sign Campaign, a program created by House Bill 1250, a bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama. No signs have yet been installed. According to a WSDOT spokesperson, five signs are currently on order. Two of those signs will be placed on Interstate 5 in the Olympia area, and three will be placed in Southwest Washington on Interstate 5, Highway 101 and Interstate 205. Of the five signs, the closest to Lewis County will be in the two signs in the Olympia area.
The first signs are a result of donations from Centralia resident Mary Astrid, who donated $1,100 in memory of Robert Hanson, who was killed in the South Pacific during World War II and from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1889, which donated money to place signs on three entrances to southwest Washington state.
Astrid was the most vocal supporter of the legislation and is a steadfast advocate of recognition for veterans.
The Purple Heart signs do not have specified installation dates. Rather, they will be placed simultaneously with other road work done by WSDOT in the relevant areas. WSDOT spokesperson stated the signs are expected to be placed in approximately one month.
WSDOT does not directly collect the funds for the Purple Heart signs. Instead, funds are raised by the state Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) through donations.
According to the DVA, the total cost of larger signs is $1,100 and the cost of smaller signs is $1,000.
According to the department’s website, “Donors who fully sponsor a sign will receive a certificate to display in office locations and on social media sites.”
The department’s first priority is to use donations to place signs at the entrances to the state’s 34 highways, though the department will place signs at other highway locations should an organization fully sponsoring a sign make such a request.
DVA’s website states the Purple Heart Sign Campaign “further acknowledges the Washington States’ gratitude to the men and women of the military who were killed or wounded as a result of an act of an enemy of the United States or in military combat.”
For more information, visit http://www.dva.wa.gov/purpleheartstate.
To make a donation to the Purple Heart State Washington Highway Sign Campaign, mail checks or money to WDVA Purple Heart Sign Campaign, P. O. Box 41150, Olympia, WA, 98504.