Entries in Purple (3)


Couple Catches Purple Squirrel in Pennsylvania

Courtesy Michelle Emert Carithers and Connie Emert(JERSEY SHORE, Pa.) -- Percy and Connie Emert from Jersey Shore, Pa., have been battling the squirrels that damage their bird feeders for some time, but until Sunday they’d never seen a rodent like this -- a purple squirrel.

Connie Emert told ABC News that she’d seen the oddly colored squirrel for about a week prior to capturing it, but her husband didn’t believe her.

“He figured it was just an off-color squirrel,” she said.  “But when we trapped it on Sunday he was like, ‘My God, you were right.  It was really purple.’”

Percy Emert traps the squirrels that damage the feeders and sets them free far away from the yard.  Connie Emert estimated he's trapped at least 50 squirrels this winter.

The couple released the squirrel on Wednesday after showing it to family, friends and neighbors.

The Emerts said they have no idea how the squirrel acquired its unique coloring.

“We’ve never seen one before and no one else ever did either,” Connie Emert said.  “No one else can explain it.  No one has any idea what happened to him.”´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Anonymous Soldier Pawns Off Purple Heart for Cash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LANSING, Mich.) -- A pawn shop is an unusual place to find a Purple Heart.

The badge symbolizes courage and patriotism and is awarded to U.S. soldiers killed or wounded in battle.

But in a small Michigan town, hard economic times forced one anonymous soldier to part with what may have been the biggest symbol of his military achievement.

A-Z Outlet owner Bryan VandenBosch says a Purple Heart was sold to him in November by a West Michigan man serving in Afghanistan. The service member, who pawned off the precious medal, declined an interview request with the Holland Sentinel, which first reported the story.

"He was falling on hard times," VandenBosch told the Sentinel, adding that the soldier didn't want his name to be revealed. "He said the same thing everybody else who comes in here says. He was short on funds."

Unlike some other medals, a Purple Heart is not engraved, which can make it difficult to track down the recipient.

Veterans have been particularly hard hit by the economy, with the unemployment rate for this group hovering at 7.4 percent in November. The problem is particularly profound in Michigan, where the veteran unemployment rate is nearly 30 percent, higher than both the national average and the state's unemployment rate.

The reports have sparked a flood of sympathy from across the country. Both individuals and military organizations have reached out to VandenBosch offering to buy the medal back for the anonymous soldier.

But the pawnshop owner, who has been flooded with calls from around the country, said he never intended to sell the Purple Heart and is keeping it for the soldier, should he want it back.

It's not unusual for Purple Heart medals to appear in flea markets and for sale online. But many of those belong to deceased service members, and what makes this case unusual is that the medal was sold by the recipient himself.

Under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, it's against the law to sell a military decoration or medal. VandenBosch said he never intended to sell the medal to begin with and has taken it down from the lit glass case in which he showcased the Purple Heart earlier this week, adding that he should never have put it there in the first place.

Some are questioning the authenticity of the medal, which is awarded in a special presentation case with a lapel pin. It is relatively easy for servicemembers to buy a Purple Heart, says John Bircher, national spokesman for The Military Order of the Purple Heart. They are sold for about $30 at a military base, and even though they are only meant for recipients looking for a replacement, often the sellers don't ask for proof of eligibility.

A Total of 1.7 million Purple Heart medals have been given out since the award was created in 1932. As of June, more than 12,500 servicemembers serving in Afghanistan had received the medal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Facebook Users Wear Purple, Stand Up Against Anti-LGBT 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Purple was the color of choice on Facebook Wednesday, as millions of users showed support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

Answering the call from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to "wear purple on Oct. 20 for Spirit Day," Facebook fans around the world changed their status messages, created purple versions of their profile pictures, joined Facebook groups and more.

Oct. 20 was designated Spirit Day by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan to honor the teenagers who recently committed suicide after anti-LGBT bullying online, according to GLAAD.

Rallying around the cause, several Facebook groups encouraging people to wear purple have popped on the site. One of the biggest, "R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple," has attracted more than 1.6 million attendees.

In news feeds across the site, Facebook fans from California to Canada and Vienna to Venezuela posted messages of support.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio