I wasn’t surprised to learn that Dale Beatty was among 10 finalists in CNN’s Hero of the Year campaign.
The Iraq War veteran has already appeared on the cover of Time Magazine for the remarkable story of how he lost both legs from an explosion only to come home and create Purple Heart Heroes, a Statesville-based nonprofit that helps rebuild the homes of other wounded veterans.
Dale isn’t some figurehead taking credit for volunteers’ work. I’ve watched as he and John Gallina built a ramp outside Richard’s Coffee Shop in Mooresville so older, less mobile veterans wouldn’t have to walk around the building to get inside.
But for every Dale Beatty, there are dozens of other veterans who have made the transition back into civilian life without the fanfare.
It’s so easy to join others in a moment of silence for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in giving their lives for freedom. But what about those who are still with us?
Some of them struggle with trauma, finding jobs that align with their military skills and carrying the burden of fallen comrades. They deserve praise, as well.
And what about guys like Cornelius resident Chase Smith? He’s a Hough High School graduate who recently complete boot camp.
He joins the U.S. Marine Corp. at a time in which the United States is engaged in two wars and some of the most complex geopolitical issues our country has experienced.
The Herald Weekly would like to help give these guys their due. We encourage readers to send us photos of themselves, family or friends in uniform, regardless of whether they are active or retired military. Please include names, ranks and time served. We'll publish these photos next month in a special Veteran’s Day edition.
Email the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. No Internet? No problem. Bring photos directly to our office at 209 Delburg St., Suite 209 in Davidson. We’ll scan your photo and return it to you within minutes.
My hope is that these guys are recognized on the street and get the gratitude they deserve.