A brand new Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) parking stall was unveiled Tuesday morning at The Emporium Western Store. The special parking spot, which is painted purple, is designated for those who have received a Purple Heart award.

This marks the second MOPH parking stall implemented in Bakersfield — the first at Bakersfield Harley-Davidson.

Ben Patten, the manager at Harley-Davidson, had the spot installed seven months ago after three of his employees, all veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, mentioned the idea.

When asked why Patten installed the parking spot, Patten said, "(Veterans) didn't set out to become wounded. It's something that just happened, and they deserve a little extra for what they did."

He continued, "To honor them with a parking spot specifically for those who stood in harm's way for you and I is telling these people 'thank you' in the best way we can."

Just a short time after Patten installed the spot, Stephen Goldwater, the owner of The Emporium Western Store, contacted Patten asking how his store could install a MOPH parking spot.

"We jumped on the opportunity," Goldwater told The Californian. "We felt so privileged."

Both Goldwater and Patten want the MOPH parking spots become a trend. They hope more businesses in town will install the spots for those who have served.

"I would urge other businesses to dedicate a space," Goldwater said. "Let's get some more of these around town."

Goldwater told The Californian if any businesses have any questions on how to install a MOPH parking spot, contact him at the store at 325-8476.

Patten says the parking spot is the least the community can do for veterans. He said the spots represent.

When asked what the spots signify, Patten said, "respect, pride, honor and gratitude for our veterans."

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