Forte' American Heroes Fund
Help them…. because they’ve earned it
Severely wounded and disabled service members return home to confront extreme hardships, from physical disabilities to financial challenges, joblessness and homelessness. The Forte' American Heroes Fund (“the Fund”) evolved from an initiative to provide assistance to wounded veterans, which initiative has to date raised and distributed more than $7,000,000. That money has gone to pay off mortgages, build new homes, furnish homes, provide Christmas cash, and train service dogs for severely wounded veterans.
One hundred percent of donations goes directly to soldiers with no deductions for administrative or overhead expenses by either the Heroes Fund or the receiving organization. The Fund is a 501(c)3 and contributions are tax-deductible.
MEET A FEW OF OUR HEROES
UNITED STATES ARMY
SERGEANT FIRST CLASS ALAN HORNADAY
Alan began his military career in July of 1986 when he joined the Arkansas National Guard. Alan’s time with the Arkansas Guard included multiple international training missions with multiple international forces, and two overseas deployments. Alan also received multiple commendations and awards during his time of service, including the Arkansas State NCO Leadership Award. His deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom would bring the defining moment of his military career.
The AR 39th BCT arrived in Iraq in February 2004. By April, the Brigade had already suffered multiple attacks and casualties. On May 6, 2004 Alan and one of his squads were manning Checkpoint 11 at the entrance of the Green Zone. While watching over his men as they checked the IDs of pedestrians and those driving vehicles across the 14th of July Bridge entering the Green Zone, Alan noticed a small taxi approaching and driving erratically.
As it drew nearer, he could see that it was heavily laden. He also locked eyes with the driver. The cold dead stare gave away his intentions. Immediately, Alan shouted to his men to take cover. Alan turned to shoot the driver and at that moment, the driver detonated the IED. Alan was propelled through the air and slammed against a blast wall. Sand bags from the top of the wall fell on and around him. The engine block of the bomber’s vehicle landed on Alan’s legs.
Alan received medical treatment in Baghdad and was flown immediately to Landstuhl, Germany and then onto Walter Reed, Washington D.C., and finally to Brook Army Medical Center Burn Unit, in San Antonio where he remained for 22 months. Alan was medically retired from the Army and due to his injuries is 100% disabled. More than anything, Alan misses the military and the men who became closer than family during the times they served together.
UNITED STATES ARMY
SERGEANT LEVI WILSON
Levi joined the Army and departed to Fort Benning, Georgia in 2007 for basic training. Upon completion of basic training Levi was ordered to his first duty assignment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Levi had been with the 2nd Brigade/25th Infantry Division only four months before being deployed to Iraq on December 7, 2007.
On January 18, 2008 Levi’s platoon was doing a route clearance patrol to clear the roads and buildings of enemy threats and improvised explosive devices. After several miles of route clearance, Levi’s Stryker vehicle was hit by a deep-buried improvised explosive device. Levi woke up shortly after to find myself pinned under the metal from the explosion (Approximately 9 soldiers were wounded (including Levi), one was killed, and two and half years later, one is still in a coma). After the explosion Levi’s unit was ambushed and had to call in air support to lay down suppressive fire. The medics were not able to get the wounded out of the vehicle for 20 minutes due to the ambush.
Once freed Levi was air lifted to the hospital in Balad, Iraq and on to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. After a few weeks of surgeries, Levi requested that he be sent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas so he could be closer to home. Levi sustained a broken back (L2-L4), broken jaw, broken left leg (tibia-fibula open facture), calcaneal fractures to both heels, broken right ankle in 3 places and his tongue was bitten nearly in half. During Levi’s rehabilitation process he and his wife (Katie) both started taking online classes and on May 30, 2010 Levi and Katie graduated with (Katie/Business Administration & Levi/Criminal Justice) Bachelor’s Degrees! Levi was officially retired from the Army on June 25, 2010 and is pursuing a career with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and plans on getting his Masters Degree.
UNITED STATES MARINE
Andrew Litz, who served three tours in Iraq, is disabled by a traumatic brain injury that he suffered when his Humvee was blown up by a roadside bomb (that killed the other two passengers). Lingering injuries have left Litz unable to work at his current job as a Dallas Police Officer.
In December 2011, we learned that Andrew, wife Heather and their children - Zachary, age 6 and Madison, age 4 - were unable to celebrate Thanksgiving due to a lack of funds and were expecting a similar Christmas. However, with your contributions and those of others, they were able to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner and have many gifts for the kids under the tree.
UNITED STATES ARMY NATIONAL GAURD
SARGEANT DAVE MAIOLO
Dave Maiolo spent 12 years in the Army National Guard as a combat engineer and infantryman. He was at Ground Zero on September 12, 2001 for three-months of work on site security, and spent just under a year in Baghdad. During his service he suffered a lower back injury and was disabled.
Last October the home that Dave, his wife and five children lived in was set to be auctioned by the bank, despite their faithful on-time monthly payments. After 10 months of work to save their house from foreclosure Operation Finally Home was able to purchase the home outright for the family.
Recently, the VA recommended a specific mattress to alieve the serious back problems arising from Dave's injury but would not provide the mattress. Thanks in full to donations from Forte' Productions attendees, Operation Finally Home was able to purchase the mattress for Dave.