Milton Carr, left, and John Burkhardt, right, present Mike Tarpley with the Patriot of the Year award in Austin. (Courtesy photo)
Local veteran Mike Tarpley was recently recognized as the 2012-13 Patriot of the Year.
The award was presented to Tarpley by the Military Order of the Purple Heart on Aug. 11 in Austin.
â€śAt first when I received this award it was something I couldn't tell anyone about, I was too emotional about it,â€ť Tarpley said. â€śThis is a pretty big honor to me. For the state of Texas to recognize what I do.â€ť
Tarpley received this honor in recognition of the several different committees and community service projects he is involved in. These include working at the domiciliary and serving as a committee member there, as well as being active in the community. He is heavily involved in the Hangar 25 Air Museum Veteran of the Month program, the 9-11 ceremony at the Big Spring Mall â€” which he founded â€” and playing of TAPS at funerals and patriotic ceremonies.
He also has created numerous framing projects which can be found around town at veterans organizations, including the VA Medical Center and DAV headquarters. There are 49 framed pieces at the VA, 14 in the domiciliary, 27 at the DAV and 76 have been given to various veterans. He has also created 145 yellow memorial ribbons for veterans.
According to Tarpley, he is the first resident outside of Austin to receive the state recognized award. Each year, the recipient is chosen through nominations made by each of the 30 chapters throughout Texas. Tarpley received the Patriot of the Year award at a local level in 2010 through Chapter 1919.
â€śThis is what my life has become since leaving the oilfield, serving veterans,â€ť Tarpley said.