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Bearcat Stadium parking sign for Disabled Veterans and Wounded Warriors is first in Texas

In serving their country, America's military men and women have walked the walk. Now, a nonprofit organization wants to shorten the steps of the nation's heroic wounded and disabled veterans.

Parking Signs for Veterans aims to make the lives of veterans a little easier when they go to a large retail center or discount store.

An idea that began in Mineral Wells is spreading across Texas and hopefully the nation – that of providing dedicated parking spaces for wounded and disabled veterans who don't use handicapped parking near the entrances of large stores or malls.

A dedication ceremony Friday at Bearcat Stadium in Aledo designated that facility as the first athletic field in Texas to provide signs for veterans. The public witnessed the unveiling of the signs.

"Our mission is to honor veterans by providing preferred parking spaces at businesses for disabled veterans and wounded warriors," said an AmVets spokesperson. AmVets were the founders of Parking Signs for Veterans, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

On July 4, the Mineral Wells Wal-Mart store reserved 10 parking spaces – five for disabled veterans and five for wounded warriors – near the front of the parking lot and clearly marked by special signage. There is no enforcement for the veterans’ parking spaces, so the public is asked to honor the parking spaces.

AmVets Post 133 came up with the idea for special disabled and wounded veterans parking spaces when someone saw a veteran trudging toward the store from far out in the parking area. The man was asked if he was handicapped, the man replied, "No, I'm not handicapped. I'm just an old, disabled veteran."

The post visited with the store manager, who said her husband, a retired U.S. Army 1st Sgt., had a similar idea he was working on. The post met and worked together with Wal-Mart to make the Mineral Wells Wal-Mart parking reservations a reality.

Some veterans with difficulty walking might not qualify for handicapped parking, and some that do simply don't wish to receive it. Parking Signs for Veterans believes these heroes should not have to make long difficult walks across a large parking area, sometimes in inclement or harsh weather, to visit a retail or grocery store.

AmVets post 133 organization believes that disabled veterans and Wounded Warriors should not be honored only one day a year on Veterans Day. An American soldier should be honored every day of the year.

The organization appreciates any donations that will go toward purchase of signs and other materials needed to make possible dedicated parking spaces for disabled and wounded veterans. Donations to the organization are tax deductible. The organization's mailing address is P.O. Box 1298, Aledo, Texas, 76008.

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