By Rob Potter
JEFFERSONVILLE July 6, 2001 Bob Webb spent a few hours Tuesday afternoon sitting in front of Pecks Market in Jeffersonville with a pile of papers on a table in front of him.
Whenever customers walked toward the stores entrance, Webb, a Kenoza Lake resident who is known simply as Cowboy to his friends, asked them if they would like to sign a form letter. Once they found out that this was no ordinary form letter, most people eagerly wrote down their names and addresses.
The letter states that the person signing it supports the creation of a Purple Heart U.S. postage stamp that would honor the veterans who were wounded while serving their nation.
When he first heard about the stamp campaign, which was first proposed late last year by New York State Senator Bill Larkin, a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col., Webb didnt hesitate to help make the public more aware of the proposed stamp.
But Webb, a Vietnam veteran who has a Purple Heart, is not doing it for himself.
He is working for the Purple Heart stamp campaign to honor the memory of his cousin, Sgt. Joseph H. Piccarelli, who was killed in Vietnam on April 15, 1968.
He was such a great guy, Webb said of his cousin, who like many of that generation paid the ultimate price while fighting for the United States of America.
Since he began working to raise awareness of the Purple Heart Stamp Campaign, Webb has contacted people around the nation and encouraged them to collect signatures on the form letters. Among Webbs new friends are Major Steve Alexander of the Colorado National Guard and Phyllis Richardson, a lady who lives in a Houston suburb. Webb noted that Alexander has helped spread the word of the Purple Heart Stamp Campaign in his state and that Richardson has had a tremendous reply in the Houston area.
Webb himself had a good response in Jeffersonville. He sat in front of Pecks from noon until 5 p.m., with the personal goal of encouraging at least 100 people to sign a letter in support of the proposed stamp.
As of 2:30 p.m., about 45 people had signed a letter, and by 5 p.m., the total stood at 98.
However, more than one person took a pile of letters for a group of their friends or social organization which could put the number of signed petitions at about 150 or higher.
Webb noted that manager Chris Smith and everyone at Pecks Market had been very accommodating Tuesday afternoon. He added that he may return in the near future to collect more signatures.
Thats not surprising, since the Purple Heart Stamp Campaign is something Webb believes in deeply.
I wanted to do this because its something that needs to be done, Webb said. So many times, veterans are totally ignored. This is a small way to remember everyone who was wounded in action or lost a loved one in a war.
(Those who wish to send a personal letter of support for the Purple Heart Stamp should write to Dr. Virginia Noelke, Chairperson, Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee, Room 4474E, U.S. Postal Stamp Development, 475 LEnfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC 20260-0010.)