STATESVILLE, N.C., Aug. 22, 2011 — Purple Heart Homes Co-founders John Gallina and Dale Beatty are two of five veterans that landed on the cover of TIME as examples of highly trained leaders coming back from the Iraq and Afghanistan (see: http://www.purplehearthomesusa.org). According to Joe Klein, "a new kind of war means a new set of skills. Now veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are bringing their leadership lessons home, where we need them most."
"For me it is all about answering the call," said Purple Heart Homes Co-founder John Gallina. "Dale and I answered the call from the governor of North Carolina during Hurricane Fran and Hurricane Floyd. And we answered the call from the President of the United States to defend our nation against terrorism during Iraqi Freedom," Gallina added.
Gallina and Beatty are different than the three others featured on the TIME cover story because both returned injured when the vehicle they were riding in hit an anti-tank mine on November 15, 2004 that left Beatty a double amputee below the knees and Gallina with back and head injuries.
Both Beatty and Gallina learned how to become humanitarian leaders as a result of the training they received in the North Carolina Army National Guard. "Becoming a humanitarian leader is a constant work in progress as any leadership skill is," said Gallina. "We were trained to work with people in distress that required immediate judgment on our part because we constantly dealt with life and death situations during hurricanes and we dealt with an uncertain enemy in Iraq that required an ability to make immediate decisions," Gallina added.
The community of Statesville has many families that answered the call of duty and understand how important it is to help and support one another. As Gallina and Beatty reintegrated back into their community, they realized how vital family, friends and neighbors were in their healing process. "The community is the key to helping returning veterans. They are the ones that reaped our benefits and enabled us to be socially accepted and productive individuals," said Gallina.
Two Combat Wounded Veterans on a Mission
Dale Beatty and John Gallina's journey together is an unbreakable bond of friendship, service, courage and leadership. Their shared experiences in the National Guard created a strong sense of community and instilled a humanitarian spirit to give back and make a difference in the lives of others that served before them in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Korea and WWII.
"Now it is about a new calling," said Purple Heart Homes Co-founder Dale Beatty. "Our calling is to help Service Connected Disabled Veterans that served in all wars by providing quality of life housing solutions to make life easier for them and their caregivers."
Recognizing an unmet need, they decided to reach across the generational divide to adapt or modify existing homes older veterans already own by providing personalized housing solutions that are substantial in function, design and quality.
Beatty and Gallina are also helping Service Connected Disabled Veterans become first-time owners by taking gifted foreclosed homes and adapting them to meet each disability. "This is intended to be a hand up and not a hand out," said Beatty. Approved and qualified Service Connected Disabled Veterans pay a mortgage of 50% of the actual home value. They will pay that mortgage to Purple Heart Homes. At the end of 10 years the home will be deeded over to the veteran free and clear. The Service Connected Disabled Veteran is encouraged to pay it forward by working on an older veteran's home that needs modifications.
As Joe Klein defined in TIME, "The New Greatest Generation," the other side of the story about Iraq and Afghanistan has not been told. "Veterans like John Gallina and Dale Beatty, who have come back and decided to continue to serve their country, are a tiny proportion of the population and probably a small proportion of returning veterans, but they are beginning to make a real difference."
To learn more about Purple Heart Homes, go to http://www.purplehearthomesusa.org or call 1-855-PURPLE9
CONTACT: Vicki Thomas, Media Relations, Purple Heart Homes – 203-984-2138
# # #