Special parking for those wounded in combat just in time for Veterans Day

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Some parking spaces at the Hampton Cove Lowe's will soon be more than just hard asphalt.

They will be designated on Veterans Day as special reserved parking for those wounded in service,  who may feel forgotten.

"It's a debt we can't repay," said Dana Hodges, who spearheaded the effort. "A sacrifice to keep us free. We owe them that. our thanks for that."

The lines of six parking spaces there will soon be painted purple and marked with signs provided by Wounded Warrior Family Support. Hodges said she saw the combat parking signs available through the project at other Lowe's out of north Alabama and wanted to bring it here. She then sent the idea on to other north Alabama store managers and many of them took it into their own hands, too.

"I almost cried when I got their emails back," she said, "the support is overwhelming."

Hodges knows what it's like to feel the sacrifice military service members make. Her father served in the Air Force for 27 years, and her brother in the Marines for eight.

"My family has come back unharmed," she said, "but a lot of families haven't."

She said some may also have wounds that can't be addressed by a handicapped tag, and that's where these signs come in handy.

"They're injured in combat, but they're not always disabled," she said. These signs will give some recognition to them, where they may not feel remembered.

Huntsville's Traffic Engineering Department also got on board. Hodges came to the city council meeting Thursday and asked if there was any scrap metal to be used for sign posts. Traffic Engineering quickly obliged.

"We have a pretty big supply of [posts] that are in the scrap heap," said Traffic Engineering Interim Director Dan Sanders. "We can not use them anymore. They're rust-covered, and that sort of thing."

It was a project they also saw the value in supporting.

"It's obviously pretty important," he said.

Lowe's plans to paint the posts anyway, so it was a win-win.

Hodges hopes combat warriors feel appreciated when the signs are unveiled. She's hoping to have them done in time for Veterans Day.

"I hope they realize they're not forgotten, and their sacrifice isn't forgotten either," she said. "That what they did wasn't in vain and this country still stands because of their efforts."

She also hopes people in the community remember to honor our veterans when they see the signs designating these parking spaces.

Hodge's says other Lowe's locations in north Alabama have chosen to do the same: south Parkway (Huntsville), north Parkway (Huntsville), Fort Payne, Florence, Gadsden, Hartselle, and Cullman.

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