MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– Oakvale and Brushfork elementary schools in Mercer County received the Purple Star Award from the West Virginia Department of Education on Wednesday, December 8, 2021.

The award is given to schools that go above and beyond showing support for military children and their families.

At Oakvale Elementary, the school has a military hallway and even adopted the 111th Engineer Brigade currently stationed out in the middle east, all in an effort to make students aware of what it’s like to be in the armed services and serve. Students and faculty wear Red on Fridays, send letters and care packages, and even video chat with the soldiers, many of whom have mountain state roots.

“What we want to provide is support for our students whose families deal with deployment or who have veterans in the home who have needs, so we try to be military friendly,” Principal LaCosta Hodges said.

Hodges said she got the idea after seeing a gap in understanding when her children were in school and her husband was deployed. The school plans to continue to grow its military outreach programs in the future.