Community Gem: Jerry Ferrell advocates for Purple Heart recipients

FAIRBORN — Jerry H. Ferrell first met a Purple Heart recipient as a young boy: his uncle. As a volunteer who advocates for veterans, he has met many more.

Now Ferrell is honoring Purple Heart recipients and Gold Star Families by urging government offices, businesses and others to erect signs to give them a dedicated space in their parking lots. So far, about 30 signs are being displayed in various locations in Montgomery, Greene, Clark and Madison counties, with plans for signs in Warren and Butler counties.

Ferrell, 66, has spoken at city council meetings and has primarily concentrated on getting signs at government buildings and Veterans Service Offices. His goal is to have a sign at every Veterans Service Office in the state.

“It’s not my speaking ability, it’s the message that I’m giving,” said Ferrell, a disabled veteran who spent four years in the army in the 1980s and injured his back when he was thrown off a howitzer.

Ferrell pays for each sign out of his own pocket.

“My country’s been good to me, and I fully intend to be good to my country,” said Ferrell, a member of the Dayton V.A. Medical Center’s Veterans Advisory Council and chairperson of the stakeholders committee at the center’s Springfield Community Based Outpatient Clinic. He also has been appointed the representative for the division of the Veterans Integrated Services Network that covers Ohio and other states.

The Fairborn resident, who has a 15-year-old son, Alex, said that he is proudest of helping veterans get the compensation they deserve.

The signs that Ferrell is advocating for help other veterans know that their service to the country is recognized and appreciated, said Dale Richardson, who serves on the Veterans Advisory Council with Ferrell. Richardson, of Madden Hills, nominated Ferrell as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem.

“Jerry is just a stand-up guy,” he said. “He just cares about veterans and their families.”

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