With its room full of purple hearts, the St. Patrick Catholic School in Perry won the 2018 Purple Up! for Military Kids photo contest sponsored by the Iowa National Guard.
April is the Month of the Military Child, and one Friday in April is set as Purple Up! Day, a time to recognize military kids of all branches and the role military children play in the armed forces community.
“Everyone is encouraged to wear purple,” said Theresa Cromwell of Perry, a member of the St. Pat’s nutrition team whose husband, Chris Cromwell, is a member of the U.S. military. “But because at Saint Pat’s they wear uniforms, Kay Weishaar made purple crafts and took time to make the day just a little better for all of our daughters but especially our daughter in her class.”
The class submitted a photo of their purple hearts and were chosen the winner of the 2018 contest, according to Chris Cox, child and youth coordinator in the Iowa National Guard. Cox said St. Patrick Catholic School won the traveling trophy after its photo was chosen by a vote of the Camp Dodge troops.
“Everyone was impressed with the creativity of the St. Pat’s photo,” Cox said. “That was the comment we heard again and again.”
Theresa Cromwell’s daughter, Kennedee Cromwell, was a first grader in Kay Weishaar’s class last year. Weishaar retired at the end of the last school year, but she returned to the St. Pat’s campus Wednesday to accept the award along with her former first — and now second — graders.
The Iowa Child and Youth Program, coordinated by Cox, connects military youth in Iowa with resources such as monthly events and summer camps.
“They have tons of fun stuff just to brighten the days of military kids,” Cromwell said, including the Purple Up! photo contest, now in its fifth year.
St. Patrick Catholic School takes its place alongside the previous winners of the Purple Up! photo contest, Scornovacca’s Ristorante, Sioux City North High School, Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School and Koach All Stars Cheerleading.
New Hampshire 4-H Clubs developed the Purple Up! for Military Kids initiative while working with the children of deployed National Guard troops as a way to build awareness in their communities.
Purple Up! for Military Kids “is not a Defense Department program,” said the Defense Department, “but a grassroots effort that began in 2011 as a way to honor the sacrifices military children make every day for the nation.”