America's patriot and Grammy award-winning country music artist Lee Greenwood presented and performed at the 2019 Helping A Hero Gala on Dec. 12, where he sang his signature hit, "God Bless The USA" to approximately 1,500 supporters.
The gala raised more than $1 million to build adaptive homes for severely wounded U.S. military veterans while also honoring former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, 'Lone Survivor' Marcus Luttrell, and entertainer Kathie Lee Gifford.
Greenwood, an enthusiastic supporter of Helping a Hero and a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Point of Light Award from the late President George H.W. Bush, presented The Lee Greenwood Award to Kathie Lee Gifford. This marks his 8th consecutive year attending and supporting the annual gala.
Helping A Hero.org is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization that has awarded more than 100 homes for wounded warriors injured in the global war on terror. Funds raised at the 2019 gala, which was held at the Marriott Marquis Houston, will help fund homes in Louisiana, South Carolina, Nebraska, Florida and throughout Texas. Prominent home builders such as Perry Homes, Chesmar Homes, Lennar Homes and MA Partners donate lots and build these adapted homes at cost. Helping A Hero raises funds and works. with our building partners to design the homes so they are specially adapted to the hero's needs. Most homes include wider doorways and hallways, roll-in showers, roll under sinks and other adaptations to help our military veterans regain their daily independence after suffering combat related injuries.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg led the Pledge of Allegiance. Both former home recipients of the charity, Retired Army Specialist J.P. Lane sang the National Anthem and Triple Amputee Retired Marine Sergeant Carlos Evans led the invocation.
This year's Gala was dedicated to two World War II veterans: Dr. Stewart Morris, Sr. who served in the Navy and recently celebrated his 100th birthday and Rex King, the 96 year old Navy Veteran, former Chairman and CEO of Palletized Trucking, and Chairman Emeritus of Helping a Hero.
Deborah Duncan, host of Great Day Houston on KHOU-TV Channel 11 and a daughter of a U.S. Army veteran, served as Mistress of Ceremonies, along with Staff Sergeant Shilo A. Harris, U.S. Army Retired. Harris, who was burned over 35% of his body when an improvised explosive device (IED), exploded in Iraq in February 2007. Shilo received his Helping a Hero home in partnership with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2012 and serves as the Advisory Board Co-Chair of the charity.
Retired Marine Capt. Dan Moran, presented The Defense of Freedom Award to Marcus Luttrell, United States Navy SEAL, Retired. Moran is a former home recipient and serves as the Advisory Board Co-Chair.
Congressman Don Bacon, USAF, Retired, surprised SGT Justin Anderson, USA (Ret) with the news that he would be a 2020 Helping a Hero home recipient. Justin is a single amputee and lost his leg as the result of a gunshot wound sustained while he was deployed to Iraq. His home will be built in Congressman Bacon's hometown of Omaha, Neb. Chairman Emeritus, Meredith Iler, had the pleasure of surprising Retired Army Corporal Sue Downes, that she too would be a 2020 Helping a Hero home recipient. She was deployed to Afghanistan when her humble hit an anti tank mine, leaving her a double amputee. Her home will be built in Houston, Texas. Both of these heroes received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart among other awards and medals.
David Balat, Helping A Hero Chairman of the Board, presented The Patriot Award to Ambassador Nikki Haley. Ambassador Nikki Haley is a leader, a fierce defender of America and a true patriot. Her passion for our wounded warriors and support for our military made her the perfect recipient of The Patriot Award. Previous Patriot Award Recipients include President George W. Bush, General Tommy Franks, Dr. Robert Gates, and Congressman Dan Crenshaw.