Veterans group helps disabled vets - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Veterans group helps disabled vets

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By David Whisenant - bio l email

NEWTON, NC (WBTV) - Veterans from one war, helping disabled vets from another.

It's a new project borne of tragedy.

Two lifelong friends from Iredell County, both injured in Iraq when a mine exploded beneath their Humvee,  came home from the war to find what they say is a great inequity in the treatment of veterans.

That's why early Friday morning it looked like a landscaping crew was hard at work on a Newton home.  But the men are volunteers, mostly veterans from the Iraq war.

And the homeowner, the man they're helping, is a disabled Vietnam vet.

"That will help him tremendously, " said Dale Beatty, one of the founder's of Purple Heart Homes.  "He has fallen quite a few times, he's not getting any younger, we want to make this house livable for as long as he wants to stay here."

The work is being done because Beatty and John Gallina, childhood friends who were injured together when a mine exploded beneath their Humvee in Iraq, discovered that while there are many services for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, there remains a need for older veterans, that's why they've found Purple Heart Homes.

"We have to remember that there's many Vietnam and Korea veterans for 50 and 60 years still here with the same injuries that I have," Beatty added.

Vietnam vet Kevin Smith owns the home where the vets worked on Friday.  Because of his injuries, he may soon be limited to a wheelchair, and without this help, he certainly can't keep up a yard and home.

The crew plans on building wheelchair ramps, but they'll also have to smooth out the floors, widen doorways, and replace cabinets, and right now they don't have the money to do all that needs to be done.

Dale Beatty says that's what Purple Heart Homes is all about. Helping wounded veterans to have access ability in their own homes.

"It happened to me and it opened my eyes to what the other need is," Beatty said.

These veterans see this as a way to give back, and honor the service of those who have gone before, and they hope the community will recognize and respond to the need.

If you'd like to learn more about Purple Heart Homes, and how you can help, visit the web site at


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