The (nationwide) organization for combat-wounded veterans is chartered by the Congress of the United States. This (local) Texas Capital Chapter has nearly six hundred members throughout the state, but most live in the greater Austin metropolitan area. In furtherance of the objects of the Order, the chapter undertakes educational, fraternal, historical, and patriotic activities in conformance with its Constitution and By-Laws, as set forth in Public Law 85-761. Among those activities:
Giving needed hospital and service work through the Veterans Administration. Each day, Chapter 1919 serves, free of charge, refreshments and snacks to the disabled veteran patients at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic. More than 25 chapter volunteers take turns in serving, and annually work nearly 3,000 hours while serving about 54,000 cups of coffee, 7,800 servings of orange juice, and 30,000 snack packets. Chapter 1919 provided part of the purchase cost of a new van for the new Cedar Park VA Outpatient Clinic, and has also donated over $6,000 to VA Social Work staff to provide emergency travel and incidental expenses for needy patients that have medical appointments in distant locations when they would otherwise not be able to travel. At Thanksgiving, chapter funds and volunteers help TAVV provide a turkey dinner to VA inpatients at Temple and Kerrville. Purple Heart veterans proudly fund all of these worthy projects for the benefit of America’s disabled veterans.
Acting with other organizations having worthy objectives. This chapter recently shipped 1,000 lbs. of used children’s clothing to Iraq where it was distributed to needy families by 4th Infantry Division soldiers (deployed from Fort Hood), that had requested our support for that civic action project. Chapter 1919 annually confers Leadership Awards to cadets in the eight ROTC programs at The University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas State University, and to the Junior ROTC programs in 24 participating High Schools in the Texas Capital area. Chapter 1919 has a history of donating major funding to the University of Texas ROTC “Gold Bar Association” and co-sponsoring the Military Ball at the University of Texas. Every year the Chapter sponsors a Youth League Baseball Team and contributes to post-season All-Stars. Chapter 1919 has conducted annual drives for toys, clothing and food, all donated variously to Toys For Tots, Food Pantry, CARITAS, and Austin’s “safe place” for battered women. Beginning in 2002, that activity was institutionalized as “Operation Purple Santa” which since that time, with the support of Pflugerville Parks and Recreation and United Christian Church volunteers, collected and distributed an estimated 4,500 children’s Christmas gifts, and household items. Before Christmas the chapter, as available, coordinates with participating schools for 4th and 5th grade children to send holiday greeting cards to the in-patients of the Temple and Kerrville VA facilities.
Providing needed assistance, comfort and aid to needy and distressed veterans and their families. Chapter 1919 paid $1,400 to restore disconnected city of Austin utilities services for a veteran who had lost an arm and an eye in combat in Vietnam. It purchased and moved into position, a replacement mobile home for a veteran who had lost his home in a fire. Most recently this chapter has provided financial aid to recently discharged Iraq-wounded veterans, and is participating with other organizations in assistance projects for "Wounded Warriors." When the need has presented itself, Chapter 1919 has provided financial support for other disabled veterans. That includes help for a Patriot laid-off from an Austin computer company, and for three veterans who needed assistance during lengthy periods of hospitalization; and the Chapter paid costs not covered by the VA for special equipment for the vehicles of two disabled veterans; and purchased furniture for a displaced married veteran in need.
Preserving and strengthening comradeship and patriotism among the members. Our fraternal obligation is, “No member should be allowed to be friendless when lonely, or without aid when in need”. The Chapter newsletter, PATRIOT BULLETIN, has received multiple annual awards as the “Best Purple Heart Newsletter in the Nation”. It is used to educate members about the Order, to instill a deeper sense of patriotism, and to provide information concerning veterans benefits, especially those benefits directed to recipients of the Purple Heart. Perhaps most importantly, it provides a “sense of belonging” for our distant members. The newsletter goes to members and friends of the chapter throughout the state. Similarly, in the local area, the Chapter devotes great attention to regularly scheduled monthly meetings, providing social opportunity for the membership as well as inspirational and educational information in a variety of meeting locations throughout the year. Our companion organization, the Ladies Auxiliary, provides tremendous assistance to Chapter 1919. This separate group of wives, widows, daughters and granddaughters support the chapter, they make our meetings successful and they do much of the work on our community service projects. We could not succeed without their help.
Influencing and teaching our citizenry, in a loyal appreciation of the heritages of American citizenship. Combat wounded veterans have made appearances at the University of Texas ROTC, to local high schools and elementary schools to relate their wartime experiences and to talk on Americanism; and occasionally are asked to teach some of the military science subjects. By request, a chapter member recently taught “Law and Ethics in Combat” in a University of Texas ROTC class. At a cost of $6,000, Chapter 1919 designed, constructed and donated a large display, prominently located in the entranceway of the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, that tells the history of the Purple Heart and features combat wounded Texans from the various wars. Chapter 1919 has sponsored nine-day summer internships conducted by the Texas Military Forces Museum for local area public school teachers for the purpose of enhancing the teaching skills of Elementary and Middle School Teachers in military history subjects.
Educational Assistance. The Chapter has established a $100,000 permanent endowment at Austin Community College for scholarships that is open to veterans and spouses. This endowment was established in 2001, and since that time the Chapter has periodically contributed additional funds. Since its inception, the ACC Foundation, that manages the fund, has paid $44,500 in scholarships for 142 student veterans and veterans spouses that have been awarded scholarships through the 2010 school year.
Commemorating national patriotic holidays. Two special dates are celebrated each year that are unique to this organization. The first is “Purple Heart Day”, the anniversary of the establishment of the Purple Heart Award by General George Washington on Aug 7, 1782, which is observed with public ceremony. Also, Chapter 1919 celebrates the birthday of General George Washington, the father of our nation and the founder of the Purple Heart, with an annual dinner party. High profile guest speakers for Chapter 1919 events have included the governor, lieutenant governor, senators and representatives of the state of Texas, and U.S. congressmen. On the other traditional national patriotic holidays, the chapter participates in parades and public ceremonies each year on Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Independence Day.
Chapter 1919 is incorporated in the State of Texas as a tax-exempt, non-profit veterans group operating as a 501 (C) (19) organization. Chapter 1919 owns no real estate and its officers and volunteers work from their homes and serve without pay or financial incentive. One hundred percent of all contributed money is applied to further the work described above. The chapter does not engage in mass-mailings or phone solicitation, and does not employ professional fund-raisers. Instead, we rely upon the good will of those who know of and support our worthy programs; primarily through “Booster” contributions from among the membership, from outside individuals and from corporate donors. Donations to MOPH Chapter 1919 fully qualify as charitable contributions under the federal tax code and IRS rules.