CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — It’s one thing to have a parade one day a year to salute our veterans, but many of them are busy 365 days a year. In West Virginia for example, our national guard remains critical to the COVID-19 vaccinations and response.

“We still have about 467 individuals on orders, assisting with the local health departments, and you know helping to process folks through there, and doing testing still,” said Brig. Gen. William Crane, West Virginia National Guard.

The guard even helped with a food drive at a testing and vaccination site. The troops recently trained with other first responders on how to handle a mass emergency, and of course, the guard was pivotal in the 2016 flood response across the Mountain State.

And there’s more. The guard now runs two Mountaineer Challenge Academies which have turned around the lives of hundreds of troubled youth.

“Some people just need the extra discipline and the extra opportunity, to have somebody provide some structure. And that’s what the Challenge Academy does, and that’s what the military does,” said General Crane.

And our retired military stays busy, too! An effort is ongoing to build the national Military Order of the Purple Heart Museum, in Charleston, to honor all of the nation’s war wounded.

“Right now we’re looking for donors. We’re looking for people that will support it. You know maybe wants to donate us some property or a building. That would be awesome,” said Capt. James McCormick, (Ret.), National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The museum will be named in honor of World War II Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, of West Virginia.

“Another effort is underway, to move the national headquarters of the Military Order of the Purple Heart to West Virginia,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.