Ardmore reserves special parking spot downtown for wounded veterans

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Veteran Jason Mix lives in the Falconhead community, near Burneyville, OK, and said he joined the Army in 1999 and was hit by mortar fire while serving in Iraq at Camp Taji in 2007.

"They started mortaring the airfield and I got hit by one of the mortars as it came in from the airfield," Mix said.

He recovered from his injuries in Germany, receiving the purple heart.

He lived in Oklahoma City after he got out of the service and worked as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan for a few years.

He battled with PTSD and anxiety before deciding to escape the city and move to more peaceful southern Oklahoma.

"I expected to get away from the military and I ran smack dab into people that really care about veterans and a community that embraced me and accepted me and didn't ask a lot of questions," Mix said.

One way Ardmore is honoring wounded veterans, like Mix, is with a special reserved parking spot on the East Main Streetscape.

Kevin Boatright, assistant city manager, said the idea came from a downtown store owner who read an article about a similar sign.

City officials loved the concept, contacting the Wounded Warriors Family Support Organization and making a donation for the sign.

“We appreciate what our veterans do for us," Boatright said. "We do not take that for granted at all. We thought designating them this parking space was just a very small token to show our appreciation."

The parking spot is located on the south side of East Main Street, in front of Antiques Etc. and "Stranger than Fiction" Book Plus stores.

The spot will work on an honor system with the city asking drivers to keep the space open for veterans wounded in combat.

Although he comes to downtown Ardmore often, Mix said he has not used the spot yet.

However, he appreciates the gesture and how it can help a fellow veteran who may be struggling.

'My brothers and I around here, we don't ask for help," Mix said. "We don't ask for handouts. We take care of each other. But it does mean a lot when the community can do something like that for veterans, not just for myself, but for a lot of the guys. You don't want to ask for help but it's nice to have help."