By Collin Brooks
A hardened group of service Veterans, known as the Dog Tag Brigade, is showing their affectionate side as they go across the area installing special parking spaces for Purple Heart Veterans and Service Veterans alike.
The Dog Tag Brigade established a Veterans Foundation as a 501 (c) non-profit group, who bond over their motorcycles and service. The group wanted to start finding different ways in which they could educate the public about veterans and their sacrifices.
“It seems like over the past decade, that veteran’s issues have been ignored or dropped,” said Dog Tag Brigade Vice-President Chris Arnold, who served in the Army from 1987-1996. “They’re not taking care of the veterans like they use to. So we wanted to give back and educate the public about the sacrifices that veterans have made and are making.”
That started as putting up Purple Heart signs to designate parking spaces. It has now turned into painting those parking spaces purple, if the business chooses and also adding Veteran parking spaces at local businesses. While the signs are starting to catch on, Arnold said that the first business to really jump on-board was Lifestyles Fitness Center, who requested that the parking spots be painted at all seven of their locations in the area.
“I haven’t really had to go out and solicit,” Arnold said. “People keep contacting me to get it done. Some guys will talk to the businesses that they frequent about the idea and right now I am busy keeping up with the different businesses that want the signs.”
Signs can also be found at the Washington County Courthouse, Carter County Courthouse, area Elks Clubs and businesses including Smith Brothers Harley Davidson and WJ’s Motorcycles Park and Accessories.
Being able to give back to veterans that sacrificed so much is important to Arnold and his group.
“As a group of veterans we wanted to honor the sacrifice that veterans have given,” Arnold said. “All veterans have sacrificed, both mentally and physically, but the wounded veteran, they have sacrificed and there is a constant visible scar that reminds them.
“This is our way to honor them.”
He said that he has been stopped by veterans that have commended the group on what they are doing for Purple Heart Veterans, and Arnold said that makes him and the group feel good about what they are doing. If anyone would like to help with donations, they can be made at Dogtagbrigade.com.