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Hopkinsville Community College Named Purple Heart College

First in Kentucky

Hopkinsville Community CollegeHopkinsville, KY – Over 100 community members, together with students from Hopkinsville High School and Christian County High schools gathered in the Anderson Seminar Hall at Hopkinsville Community College’s Emerging Technology Building to honor local Purple Heart recipients and to hear from members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) of Kentucky.  

HCC President / CEO Dr. Alissa Young welcomed the guests after members of the Christian County High School color guard posted colors and attendees heard the National Anthem and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Dr. Young noted that guests of the Military Order of the Purple Heart present were from the Vine Grove, Kentucky organization, Heartland Chapter 767. Guests included Alonza Aaron, Purple Heart, Commander; Gail Lyons, President, Auxiliary, Purple Heart; and Irvin Lyons, Jr., Purple Heart, Kentucky Purple Heart College Coordinator.
Dr. Young said, “This is truly a breathtaking moment. We all become caught up in so much of the daily grind of life that we seem to forget that that very grind that we become frustrated or bored with has been bought with the sacrifice and blood of patriots. Some of those patriots are in this room with us today, and we cannot adequately thank you for your service.” 

During her remarks, HCC Chief Institutional Advancement Officer and HCC Foundation Executive Director Yvette Eastham noted that the Purple Heart medal is presented to service members who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in the U.S. military.

A Purple Heart is a solemn distinction and means a service member has greatly sacrificed themselves, or paid the ultimate price, while in the line of duty. Eastham noted the solemnity of the occasion, and asked Purple Heart recipients in attendance to stand. Among the recipients present was Ronald L. Henn of Hopkinsville, a three-time Purple Heart Recipient.  

SGM(r) Irvin Lyons Jr., the Purple Heart College Coordinator for Kentucky shared information with attendees on the purpose of the organization, which is to recognize the service of Purple Heart recipients, and to spread the message of local heroes across the state of Kentucky.

“I look around the room and see all of these young folks sitting here. It’s fine to see that we have some young leaders in the house, and this is our future,” shared Mr. Lyons. He stated that Hopkinsville Community College was the first college in Kentucky to be designated a Purple Heart College as the college was notified in July of 2021 of the honor, although Elizabethtown Community College announced its designation in November. Mr. Lyons exclaimed, “We are so glad to be with you today and see so many people, and how you have welcomed us, we are blown away!”  

Mr. Lyons read a proclamation from his organization announcing that Hopkinsville Community College is a Purple Heart College, and presented Dr. Young with signage for the entrances to the college campus. In her remarks accepting the designation and proclamation, Dr. Young noted that 40 percent of HCC’s current enrollment is military related.

Further, she declared, “Young people in our local Junior ROTC programs, I challenge you to remember this day. To look upon the faces of those who have sacrificed for you to sit in this room. These and countless others have made it possible for me and for you to be present in this moment, and to pursue our passions.” Mrs. Gail Lyons of the Auxiliary presented Dr. Young with a bottle of Purple Heart wine to celebrate the occasion.  

At the conclusion of the event, Eastham thanked the HCC Foundation for providing support and the luncheon for attendees and announced that $4,000 annual scholarship from the HCC Foundation to be awarded to a Purple Heart Recipient or an immediate family member – spouse, child, or parent – of a Purple Heart Recipient. This scholarship will be available beginning fall of 2022.

Interested students should call 270.707.3731 for additional information.  

For additional information on the Military Order of the Purple Heart – https://www.purpleheart.org/  

About Hopkinsville Community College

For many Pennyrile Kentucky region and Fort Campbell residents, higher education begins at Hopkinsville Community College (HCC).  The college serves thousands of area residents each year as a comprehensive regional learning center providing academic and technical associate degrees; diploma and certificate programs in occupational fields; pre-baccalaureate education; adult, continuing and developmental education; customized training for business and industry; and distance learning.

As part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, HCC is a critical component to transforming the region’s economy by providing citizens with the education and training needed for high growth, high wage careers.

For more information, visit Hopkinsville.kctcs.edu. 


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