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Purple Hearts should never be out of stock



A while back, a Korean War veteran decided he’d like to collect the Purple Heart he earned when he was wounded in a shell attack. He never did get the award back then. Now he wants it.

Nyles Reed sent his application in, and what did he get in return? A certificate that said yes, he was eligible for the Purple Heart, and a form letter that said no, he couldn’t have one because they were out of stock. Reed was told to either buy his own medal or resubmit an application in three months.

This is unacceptable. This veteran is 75 years old. You don’t tell a 75-year-old veteran to reapply in three months. You get on the phone to Graco Awards (which has a contract to manufacture the Purple Hearts) and you find out when they’ll be shipping the next batch. You send Reed a letter telling him exactly when the medal will be in stock again and exactly when it will be shipped to him. And you put him on your personal watch list and make sure it happens. Even an online medals site says that if an item is out of stock, you’ll be notified and given as estimated delivery date.

Years ago there was an oversupply of Purple Hearts, which ended up in long-term storage. But this is now, and an online article about Graco Awards says that something like 200 Purple Hearts an hour are being produced. Assuming the craftsmen can only keep at it four hours a day (the detail enamel is applied by hand), that’s 208,000 Purple Hearts per year.

In the end, Reed was to get his medal after he got his senator’s office looking into the problem and additional medals were received.

Out of stock?

Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL32853-6475, or send e-mail to columnreply@gmail.com.

©2007 King Features Synd.

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