Chapter 553 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is a veteran service organization composed of combat wounded veterans whose mission is to continue in service to their country and community by focusing on the needs of veterans and their families in the upper twenty-six counties of the Texas Panhandle.
Chapter 553 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart was chartered on February 29, 1988. The National Order was created in 1932 by an Act of Congress, the same year the Purple Heart medal was created. Chapter 553 membership consists of veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the War on Terror and received the Purple Heart. Relatives of the Chapter’s members are also eligible for associate membership.The Purple Hearts of Amarillo
The VA Amarillo Healthcare System provides health care services at 5 locations serving northern Texas and eastern New Mexico. The facilities include the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center in Amarillo and 4 community-based outpatient clinics in Clovis, New Mexico, and Childress, Dalhart, and Lubbock, Texas.
Palo Duro High School Air Force JROTC Cadet Paw Htoo with MOPH Commander, Mendell Schelin
MOPH Member Robert Herrera (a Caprock High grad), Cadet Preciado & Chapter 553 Senior Vice Commander Don Roden.
(l-r) Dr. Rodney Gonzalez, Director of the Amarillo VA Hospital System, Don Roden, Senior Vice-Commander of Chapter 553, Mendell Schelin, Commander of Chapter 553, Ms. Teena Hall, Director of the Housing First Program, and MOPH member, Robert Herrera.
Hereford High School Marine JROTC Cadet Moses Oviedo
MOPH Chapter 553 Officers, Mr. Don Roden (l) & Mr. Mendell Schelin (r) present a $1,000 check to Mr. Bob Heppner, Director of VA Hospital’s Community Living Center, to provide expanded recreational opportunities for the residents of the CLC.
MOPH Chapter 553 Officers, Mr. Don Roden (l) & Mr. Mendell Schelin (r) present a $1,000 check to Ms. Trisha Reid, Director of Civic Engagement, to benefit the VA Hospital’s Clothing Room to provide clothing for Amarillo’s homeless veterans
MOPH Chapter 553 Officers, Mr. Don Roden (l) & Mr. Mendell Schelin (r) present a $1,000 check to Ms. Teena Hall, Director of the Housing First Program to aid Amarillo’s homeless veterans
Participants in the June 6, 2022 check presentations at the Thomas E. Creek VA Hospital. Mr. Bob Heppner, Director of the Community Living Center; Mr. Don Roden, Senior Vice-Commander, MOPH, Chapter 553; Ms. Trisha Reid, Director of Civic Engagement; Mr. Mendell Schelin, Commander, MOPH Chapter 553; and, Ms. Teena Hall, Director of the Housing First Program.
The Purple Heart originated on Aug. 7, 1782, when General. George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit. The award was established by Washington to honor soldiers and non-commissioned officers. Only three men are known to have received the badge which was only awarded during the Revolutionary War.
Chapter 553 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart is a veteran service organization composed of combat wounded veterans that continue to serve by focusing on the needs of veterans and their families in the upper twenty-six counties of the Texas Panhandle with particular emphasis on the Amarillo Veterans Administration Hospital, and the area’s Junior ROTC programs.
MOPH Chapter 553 is comprised of seventy plus combat wounded veterans who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War and the War on Terror. Each of their stories is unique. To read more about these veterans follow the link below.
Four area high schools conduct Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs as an elective. The JROTC course offers the high schools’ students instruction in citizenship, character, leadership and community service. The curriculum emphasizes health, physical education, ethics and financial responsibility.JROTC Leadership - Scholarship Awards
The veterans of Chapter 553 continue to serve with their involvement in supporting the Thomas E. Creek Veterans Hospital; the four Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs offered at area high schools; The Texas Panhandle War Memorial (TPWM); and, other projects that honor the Panhandle’s veterans.