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Scorpions to become Purple Heart team

The Rogue Valley Scorpions wheelchair basketball team will receive a patriotic honor on Tuesday.

The nonprofit organization is set to be recognized as a Purple Heart team at 1 p.m. at the Santo Community Center.

The Scorpions will be the first club in Oregon to receive the designation, said Larry Rupp, commander of the Rogue Valley Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 147. It acknowledges the almost two million veterans since World War I who have received the military decoration.

"These guys are pretty doggone amazing," Rupp said. "I figured they should have the honor of being the first team."

The Scorpions, who compete in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, open their season by hosting Seattle at 5 p.m. on Oct. 22 at Central Medford High.

"We wanted to show that we support the Purple Heart," Rogue Valley general manager Jeff Roberson said.

The decision to make Rogue Valley a Purple Heart team came after some discussion between Roberson, Rupp and others.

"Basically, it's a thank you to the veterans," Rupp said. "In particular Purple Heart recipients."

The NFL's Carolina Panthers received similar recognition in 2013.

The city of Medford became the second in the state to become a Purple Heart City in 2014.

The Purple Heart is bestowed on members of the U.S. military who have been killed or wounded in action.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt