Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA Refutes ABC News

Springfield, VA.--"ABC unfairly branded the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) with an 'F' stamped across my photo on national television," said Henry Cook, National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. "The American public was shocked that a non-profit veterans service organization would spend money on itself rather than wounded troops."

"It was all a huge error!" Cook said. "The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, not the veteran’s service organization known as the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), is the organization spending funds on things other than providing services to veterans. Things like a half million dollars to a museum that later employed the daughter of a Service Foundation board member, excessive executive salaries; a high priced, black tie retirement party for an executive that was re-hired at the same salary, a super bowl-type retirement ring costing thousands of dollars. All of this paid for with dollars donated for the combat wounded warrior, their widows and orphans.”

Cook related how the Foundation is responsible for raising funds through donations and gives MOPH an annual grant to use for operations and payroll. "But this year the amount of money needed to accomplish all our programs and projects has been drastically cut.”

Cook continued to outline some of the gross expenditures made by the Foundation on items he considered outlandish. " ABC's Brian Ross is going to air the real story. Both myself and the National Adjutant, Joe Palagyi, were interviewed by ABC and asked to verify some of the questionable expenditures. We set the record straight!"

"The media has stolen our valor," Joe Palagyi told ABC. Palagyi is responsible for managing the day to day operations and the annual budget for the MOPH. "They took away our honor and the pride that our 40,000 members hold so dear. They tarnished the Purple Heart. We couldn't let that happen without responding."

ABCs Brian Ross asked if the Service Foundation's Executive Director Dick Esau would appear on camera to relate his side of the story. "I asked him, but he declined. In fact, he warned me not to talk to the media," Cook stated.

"I want America to watch the ABC News story to be aired soon. Only then will the American public understand how MOPH strives to help the combat wounded and their families. We work hard to make life a little better for those who have shed their blood on the world's battlefields."

The MOPH consists of about 40,000 combat wounded veterans from all wars. As a service organization, they provide comfort and support and fill the void that is created when the VA or military help is stretched thin. Their members serve as volunteers, without pay in providing assistance to veterans and their families. Families are given travel expenses to visit loved ones in military hospitals. Backpacks filled with comfort items are given to wounded as they leave Iraq or Afghanistan military medical facilities. Weekly visits are made to patients in Walter Reed Army Hospital, Bethesda Naval Hospital and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. In each case, patients are asked to tell MOPH members what they need to make life a little better and MOPH members work hard around the nation to do just that.

National Headquarters
5413-B Backlick Road, Springfield, VA 22151
703-642-5360 Fax: 703-642-1841

(Posted 12/28/07)