SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) is paying tribute to military veterans by incorporating two parking spaces on two of its campuses.
The signs, located at the college's South Portland and Midcoast campuses, are marked with Purple Heart emblems and lined with purple paint.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, SMCC President Ron Cantor said, "It is important to remember all of the sacrifices our veterans have made for the freedoms we have today." Cantor also said the parking signs are a way for the college to recognize and honor students that were wounded in action, in addition to veterans here and everywhere.
The parking signs came from the Combat Wounded Parking Signs program, which is a part of the Wounded Warriors Family Support, an organization that gives support to veterans and families of those who have been wounded or killed during combat.
The Combat Wounded Parking Signs program says SMCC is the first college in Maine to install the organization's signs.
Among the combat-wounded veterans currently enrolled at SMCC is Justin Galipeau, a two-tour veteran of the war in Iraq, where he served with the Marine Corps. Galipeau was wounded in 2004 by an IED blast, earning him the Purple Heart.
In recent years Galipeau served as the regional chief of staff and commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) and is now workings towards a business degree at SMCC to use toward a national position with the veterans organization.
The new parking signs bring awareness to all Purple Heart recipients from all eras, Galipeau said.