Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Band of Brothers

In 2001, HBO® aired the miniseries Band of Brothers—the story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission during World War II.  The series showed the strength of ordinary men as they banned together in combat.  It was loved by viewers and critics alike. 

Combat makes for strong and lasting friendships still today.  There is a shared history, a common goal, and an understanding among those who have been in combat together.  Even those who do not serve together will connect—by branch, military base, and by command.

Hope For The Warriors® is fortunate to welcome Bill Nelson to our Board of Directors; Bill had previously sat on our Advisory Council.  At the end of 2012, Bill retired as chairman and CEO of HBO®.  Many years before Bill led HBO®, he was in the Army and in Vietnam.  During his time, he was in the 101st Airborne.
Bill in Vietnam

As Bill approached his retirement, staff members at HBO® agreed that the best way to honor his years of dedication to the company was by donating to a cause that he believed in—one that supported wounded service members, their families, and families of the fallen.  As Bill said goodbye to HBO®, the staff and the company made a donation to Hope For The Warriors® in his honor.

It is funny how connections are made.  The funds were donated for two programs—Spouse/Caregiver Scholarships and A Warrior’s Wish®.  We had one pending 2012 Wish that we did not have the budget to grant.  The soldier, Cory, submitted a Wish request for an ATV.  In combat, an IED exploded a few feet away from him.  The explosion had broken his pelvis, back, and left arm.  His left leg has been amputated above the knee and he struggles with traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

But what caught our attention was one particular line in his essay. 

“After almost nine years of service, I got the call to go to Iraq.  I had no problem with this because this was my job; this is what I signed up for.  I was ready, and I was going with the greatest unit in the world, the 101st Airborne out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.”

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to get the Hope For The Warriors® staff excited.  But this connection, with both men serving the 101st Airborne, was more than we could have imagined.  We were excited to share the news with HBO® and Bill. 

Cory picks up the ATV
Granting this Wish will give Cory greater mobility outdoors.  He is a self-proclaimed outdoorsman who learned to hunt and fish at an early age.  He caught his first fish at the age of five.

But granting this Wish has given Cory more than just increased mobility.  It also gives Cory the ability to build a relationship with his children.  Time in the Army is generally time away from family; Cory wants to make up for that time.

“I have a second chance at life and a second chance with my family.  I do not want to waste it because I do not feel comfortable leaving the house.  I am young and otherwise in good health and want the opportunity to teach my children my love of nature and the outdoors. “

A Wish that was granted as a wonderful bond between “brothers”—one veteran helping another—will lead to a wonderful family bond.
The Family enjoys the new ATV
Thank you to Bill for his dedication to fellow veterans and to HBO® for their continued support and generosity.  Hope For The Warriors® was proud to grant this Wish and help this hero from the 101st Airborne.

Thank you also to Kevin Powell Motorsports in Greensboro for their help in granting this Wish.

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