By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A new veterans service organization is coming to Payne County and the surrounding area.
Payne County Chapter 820 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart will be chartered and install new officers at the Wyndham Hotel in Stillwater 11 a.m. Feb. 9.
“It’s a new chapter,” member Frank Casson said. “It’s one of the first new chapters in the state of Oklahoma in 30 years.”
The group will also extend its membership and service to people in surrounding counties including Logan, Creek and more.
Casson has served two times in his life. From 1982 to 1986, he served in the Marine Corp. before getting his degree in education. He returned to service with the Army Reserves from 1996 to 2005 when he medically retired.
“We’re one of the smallest service organizations because we’re exclusive,” Casson said.
“You have to have a Purple Heart to become a member. What we do then is we do fundraisers and we go out into the community to help other Purple Heart veterans and (other) veterans. We want to be part of the community as well.”
Casson said the chapter would also like to assist people who may have been involved in wildfires or any other damaging event.
Among the guests at the event will be State Commander Charlie Scott of Broken Arrow and past National Commander Clayton Jones who will be swearing in the new officers.
Casson said the size of this chapter will have its benefits including voting on decisions in a more timely manner.
“At this moment in time, on donations, all money donated to us is tax exempt, but 98 cents of every dollar given to us goes back to the veteran,” Casson said. “We don’t keep any of it.”
The chapter doesn’t pay its officers and has not had to pay for a meeting space. They have been fortunate, he said.
The group looks to be all encompassing by helping others and those who have received the Purple Heart.
“The goal is not to just be Payne County,” he said. “We want to be able to service al Purple Heart veterans that want to attend the function.”
For more information about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.