Helping a Hero and Lee Greenwood Honor 22 Patriots for Supporting Wounded Veterans
Dr. Ben Carson, Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, Ainsley Earhardt, Paula Deen, and Michael W. Smith Among 40 Total Award Recipients This Year
Helping a Hero and the charity’s National Ambassador Lee Greenwood recently hosted three national events to promote patriotism and support our nation’s wounded veterans. During the events held in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina in May, Helping a Hero and Greenwood recognized 22 honorees with the Lee Greenwood Patriot Award for their commitment to our military heroes.
The events are part of a year-long initiative to celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of Lee Greenwood’s iconic song “God Bless the USA” by honoring a total of 40 patriots with the Lee Greenwood Patriot Award. Proceeds raised will benefit Helping a Hero’s efforts to build specially adapted custom homes for severely wounded warriors through the Wounded Hero Home Program, as well as other support programs and resources to assist veterans and their families.
“Our men and women of the military sacrifice so much to protect our country and our freedoms, and while we can never do enough to fully repay them, we can strive to do everything we can to support them when they return home,” said Lee Greenwood. “It has been an honor to partner with Helping a Hero over the last decade to help with their mission of empowering our wounded heroes by building specially adapted homes. Like all charities, we were not able to hold many events in 2020, but we fast-tracked three national events in the past month, and thankfully, we will be able to help a lot more deserving veterans and their families.”
“Meeting heroes like CPL Sue Downes, USA (Ret), who lost both of her legs in an anti-tank mine explosion in Afghanistan, reminds me that America is strong because we have men and women willing to put their lives on the line to protect our homeland,” said Dr. Ben Carson, who received the Lee Greenwood Patriot Award in Houston on May 13. “I am humbled to receive The Lee Greenwood Patriot Award from one of America’s National Treasures, Lee Greenwood.”
During the most recent event on May 19 hosted with NASCAR legend Richard Childress at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, N.C., Helping a Hero recognized Penny and Bob Barnhill, Paula Deen, Ainsley Earhardt, former Lt. Governor Dan Forest, Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, and recording artist Michael W. Smith. Previous award recipients in 2021 include James A. Baker, III, George Bishop, Jack Brewer, Joanne King Herring, Charles W. Jenness, Rush Limbaugh, in memoriam, Sam and Kevin Sorbo, Annette, and George Strake, Jr., and 45th President Donald J. Trump.
“I would like to salute Lee Greenwood and Helping A Hero for their work building homes for severely wounded warriors,” said Richard Childress, chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing and 2020 Lee Greenwood Patriot Award Recipient. “It was an honor to host the Lee Greenwood Patriot Awards Dinner at Childress Vineyards and I am thankful for the opportunity to join in helping even more of our heroes regain their independence by receiving an adapted home.”
“I read the words again to Lee Greenwood’s song, ‘God Bless the USA,’” said Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris. “Every word of that song hits home and how lucky we are to be able to call America our home. It is so special. I think a lot of my father. My Dad was in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II and he never mentioned it until I was 21 when we were around a campfire. He was passing on to me about how he had had some tough times.”
Morris continued, “To be here tonight to salute and pay tribute and honor all these veterans, the defenders of this great land is humbling and wonderful. In a small way, we can show some support to them.” Morris accepted his award with 96-year-old World War II veteran and Bass Pro Shops employee Emil Martinka by his side.
“Thank you God for all of the heroes who fight for our country to give us our freedoms to live out the American dream every day,” said Ainsley Earhardt. “Thank you to Lee Greenwood and Helping a Hero for all you do to honor our veterans and warriors – humbled to be part of this special evening.” Earhardt also featured Helping a Hero on Fox and Friends after the North Carolina event. Click here to view the clip.
“Helping a Hero is an organization that is very near and dear to my heart because it helps our wounded warriors – the men and women that put their lives on the line for us every day,” said Paula Deen. “I am honored to receive an award for my work with Helping a Hero and I’m looking forward to working with CPL Sue Downes, USA (Ret) to help provide furniture for her new home in Cypress, Texas. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to meet our wounded heroes and humbled to be in their presence. They have truly touched my heart.”
“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to those that fight for and defend our freedoms,” said multi-platinum recording artist Michael W. Smith. “That’s why I support Helping a Hero and the tremendous work that they do on a daily basis. Helping a Hero and those that support this great cause are making a huge impact on the many lives of our warriors who deserve all the help we can possibly give them. I applaud the work you are doing and I am honored to receive The Lee Greenwood Patriot Award.”
“Helping a Hero is proud to join with Lee Greenwood to honor these deserving patriots that support our wounded heroes who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom and liberty,” said Meredith Iler, chairman emeritus of Helping a Hero and founder of the Wounded Hero Home Program. “Our heroes continually tell me how grateful they are to know America supports them. We look forward to continuing to empower our wounded warriors through building many more specially adapted homes and helping them through their recovery process.”
In December 2020, Helping a Hero and Lee Greenwood hosted its annual gala in The Woodlands, Texas, awarding the first five Lee Greenwood Patriot Awards to Childress, U.S. Congressman Bill Flores, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and GOYA Foods CEO Robert “Bob” Unanue.
About the Lee Greenwood Patriot Award:
Lee Greenwood has been an ardent supporter of Helping a Hero for over a decade and is a legend in country music having released over 30 albums. His iconic song “God Bless the USA” has reached the top five on the country singles charts three times (1991, 2001, and 2003), and is the only song in any genre of music to achieve that ranking. It was also #1 on the pop charts after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and voted by CBS News as the most recognizable patriotic song in America. As we approach the 40th anniversary of “God Bless the USA,” Helping a Hero has partnered with Greenwood to present 40 Lee Greenwood Patriot Awards to honorees who have demonstrated outstanding patriotism and support for our military and veterans.
About Helping a Hero:
Helping a Hero is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Texas that has awarded over 100 homes in 23 states to our most severely wounded warriors injured in the Global War on Terror. Helping a Hero is certified by the Better Business Bureau as a transparent and accountable charity and was also one of 12 charities selected by the BBB for the “Award of Distinction” in 2017. Applications are being accepted for 2021 and 2022 homes.