Organizations We Admire

The Purple Heart Foundation Elevates Its Medals’ Recipients

Kathryn Maloney

The Purple Heart started back with George Washington and his creation of the purple merit badge.

Purple was a sign of royalty, which still stands true today. Washington was known for handing out three of those purple merit badges, and what he did was unique because it was for all ranks of service, not just officers. The purple stood out because it was hard to get ahold of the purple dye. Today, there is one original purple merit badge in existence. 

The original merit badge lay dormant till after World War I when military hero Douglas MacArthur was recognized as a two-time combat-wounded veteran and was praised for the meritorious efforts that he had put forward. MacArthur was asked to redesign the medal, which is the current look of the medal today. In his honor, the first and second Purple Heart medals were awarded to MacArthur. 

The mission of the Purple Heart Foundation is to enhance the quality of life of recipients and other honorably discharged veterans and their families, according to their website. Jim Hatch grew up in a military family, which gave him an understanding of what the military lifestyle was like. This inspired Hatch to start working with The Purple Heart Foundation. In his role as Director of Partnerships, Hatch sees it as a way to give back. 

“I have a lot of respect for the military lifestyle,” Hatch said. “My parents made the case at a very young age that we are not going to live a rich life financially, but we are going to lead a rich life, and that we will see the world, and we'll have friends with people around the world, and we'll forever be touched by those connections.” 

Through his work with the foundation, instead of focusing on things that cannot be controlled, Hatch’s goal is to bring attention to the positive efforts that come out of the military. Hatch also uses his platform to further support military initiatives that are significantly impacting our communities and veterans.

Founded in 1957, the Purple Heart Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that raises funds to support our nation’s veterans and their families. Over the past 60 years, the Purple Heart Foundation has raised funds to support programs and services that help all veterans recover and prosper in life. The significance of this work has been shown to pay immense dividends in the lives of veterans who struggle to adjust to civilian life, as about a third of all veterans say they have problems paying their bills in the first few years after leaving the military. 

Furthermore, the Purple Heart Foundation provides various services for its recipients, and aims to help ease and aid the transition from the battlefield to the home front for veterans at various stages of their life. The organization also has PTSD resources and scholarship funds. Additionally, the Purple Heart Foundation provides service dogs to veterans as well as Veterans Critical Assistance Grants to those facing hardships. All of these are funded by generous donors.

To learn more about Hatch and The Purple Heart Foundation, visit the website here

Photo credit: Courtesy of Purple Heart Foundation’s Instagram