Purple parking spots show how a small gesture can make a heartfelt impact on our vets.
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Veterans Crisis Line

The next time you're cruising around looking for a parking spot, you may just come across a purple one.

Spotted in Ohio. GIF via WKBN27.


Who are these purple parking spots for?

They work much like handicap spots, only they're meant specifically for our brave veterans who were wounded in combat. They're a simple way to show appreciation for them.

The purple spots and matching signs are beginning to appear in the parking lots of businesses, churches, schools, government, and medical facilities around the country.

The spots are having a truly profound impact. "I was almost at a loss for words. I was so grateful," Bobby Woody told Military Order of the Purple Heart after seeing two veterans painting a parking spot purple at a Lowe's Home Improvement store.

Full story on MOPH's Facebook page. Image used with permission.

The spots are purple in honor of the Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed in combat.

There are over 1.8 million recipients of the Purple Heart living in the United States today, and even more wounded vets. The mission of these parking spots is inclusive of them all, many of whom are handicapped or disabled as a result of injuries received in combat.

Wounded Warriors Family Support, a Nebraska-based group that helps families of wounded or killed soldiers, is leading the effort. Their Combat Wounded Parking Signs program is just one initiative to honor wounded military members.

More than 2,000 signs have been given out so far, according to John Folsom, president and founder of Wounded Warriors Family Support.

Even an eighth-grade class took up the opportunity to pass them out.

"I thought, what a wonderful tribute to our combat wounded veterans," teacher Carol Nicholas told Wounded Warriors. "It'd be so nice to have my students involved in it."

And that's just what she did with her eighth-grade class.

Her students were able to get their hands on 100 parking signs. And today, at least 42 of them are being used at local businesses in their Florida town, bringing the community together in support of their local military veterans.

The parking spaces have made their way from coast to coast, with some most recently spotted in Warren, Ohio.

The best part: The parking signs are easy to get — and they're free.

It's a simple and real-life way to support your local veterans. To request signs for your own establishment, all you have to do is apply online and pay for the shipping to receive a sign of your own.

See more about how an eighth-grade class changed the parking scene in their community and how you can get involved in your own:

RODNAE Productions via Pexels
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The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.

To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.

"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.

"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.

The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.

In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.

Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.

The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.

You can learn more about last year's winners, here.

If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.

An unsuspecting guy at a shopping mall Zales got the surprise of his life this week while trying to pay off part of his engagement ring.

As the young man talked with the clerk at the jewelry store counter about how much he still owed for his ring and when he'd be able to pay it off, an extraordinarily large hand handed the clerk a credit card. Shaquille O'Neal, the 7' 1'' basketball legend known colloquially as "Shaq," overheard their conversation and decided to take care of the bill himself. No big announcement. No fanfare. He just handed over his credit card, shook the stunned customer's hand and patted him on the back, and that was that.

Someone caught the moment on video and shared it, which prompted Shaq's co-hosts on NBA on TNT to ask him about it the next day.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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