WASHINGTON, DC (WWBT) - Last night in Washington, D.C., military leaders and celebrities honored the sacrifices of America's wounded warriors. The annual event is hosted by Hope for the Warriors, a national organization dedicated to military members and their families.
It starts on a distant battlefield, and continues in a military hospital. The journey of a wounded soldier is often long and painful. The goal is recovery-- but some move beyond that.
"We can still be productive members of society. We're not sitting there with our hand out- we can still affect a change," said SSGT Dale Beatty, ANG (Ret.).
Dale Beatty is making a change-- the retired National Guard Sergeant founded Purple Heart Homes. Its purpose is to modify homes so wounded veterans can navigate through everyday challenges.
"Ramps to get in the house, widen doorways; roll-in showers are a must," said Beatty.
Beatty knows firsthand- he lost both legs in Iraq. For his work, he was honored at the 'Got heart, Give hope' gala with a hope and courage award. So too was Renee Ayres. Her husband came home wounded from Iraq in 2004.
"I received a call that I never expected, and...Life-changing doesn't even explain it," Renee said.
Once the couple adjusted to their new reality, Renee became an advocate for injured soldiers and their families, calling on congress for better access to medical care.
"If I don't do it, and other spouses don't do it, and the other non-profits won't do it- then our guys aren't going to get the help they need," she said.
"Whether they're on the front pages today or not, they're still on the front lines every day in remote parts of the world that are very, very dangerous," Gary Sinise said.
Actor Gary Sinise hosted the event for the second straight year. Funds raised will help Hope for the Warriors continue programs to help wounded soldiers and their families. To date, nearly 43,000 troops have been wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.