August 7th is a revered day in military communities across the United States. On this day in 1782, George Washington created the Purple Heart Medal — a military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is on this day that Purple Heart Homes launches our annual campaign, Operation Veteran Home Renovation, in an effort to get more communities engaged in the housing needs of older, ailing veterans. Additionally, this day is significant in another big way, specifically to Purple Heart Homes.
August 7th was Dale Beatty’s birthday.
Born on August 7, 1978, the Statesville, NC, native joined the North Carolina National Guard in 1996. It was during his time in the North Carolina National Guard when Dale met John Gallina — another Statesville, NC, native. Little did they know at that time the extent of adventures they would endure together. Most of you already know the rest of the story leading up to the foundation of Purple Heart Homes. For those of you who don’t, you can learn more about that story in the recently published book co-authored by Dale and John titled Wounded Homecoming: The Uphill Journey of Wounded Veterans from Battlefield to Homefront.
If you are someone who began following Purple Heart Homes recently, you may not be aware that Dale passed away unexpectedly on February 12, 2018. That was a difficult day (a severe understatement) for all of us at Purple Heart Homes, Dale’s wife and three children, the rest of his family, friends, and anyone who truly knew him. Since then, people have asked, “Will Purple Heart Homes keep going on? Will you keep helping veterans without Dale?” The answer has always been: yes, absolutely.
Dale and John did not create the Purple Heart Homes mission ten years ago for it to end when one or both of them are no longer present. There will always be veterans who need safe places to call home. The mission to provide housing solutions for Service Connected Disabled Veterans that are substantial in function, design, and quality, fit to welcome home the fighting men and women of America, is not limited to two individuals. Our mission relies on each and every community across the nation realizing the importance of a safe and accessible home for the ones who defended our own homes. Working alongside Dale, I know exactly what he would say to anyone who doubts the success of Purple Heart Homes moving forward. He would say what he always said, which is, “Keep recognizing the veterans in your neighborhoods. Keep recognizing their needs. If you keep doing that, our mission will live on. Join our Hearts of Honor Club. Start a Purple Heart Homes Chapter in your local community. There are multiple layers of impact when a project is completed for a veteran, and that impact extends to the people in each veteran’s community.”
You are always invited to join us in our movement of improving veterans’ lives one home at a time. We needed them when they served, and now they need us. There are so many ways to get connected and learn the true impact of our mission.
236 years ago, the Purple Heart Medal was created to honor our wounded and fallen Servicemembers. 40 years ago, Dale Beatty was born. 10 years ago, Dale and John co-founded Purple Heart Homes to honor their fellow Servicemembers with safe and accessible housing. Today, you can make a difference to the veterans in your community and beyond.
Happy Birthday, Dale. In closing, I’ll leave you with one of the final notes that Dale wrote while we were still working on Wounded Homecoming: The Uphill Journey of Wounded Veterans from Battlefield to Homefront —