Wounded Warrior Inspires Gates, Accepts Key to New Home
(September 6, 2009)
|CYPRESS, Texas, Aug. 31, 2009 – Hundreds
of people arrived today at the home of retired Marine Capt.
Dan Moran, a warrior severely wounded in Iraq, to see
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates present him the keys to
his new home on behalf of the Helping a Hero organization.|
They came to see Moran lauded as a hero by
a host of luminaries: Astros legend Craig Biggio, Texas Lt.
Gov. David Dewhurt, U.S. Rep Todd Tiahrt from Kansas , and
hundreds of others from the community.
|Surrounded by family and with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to his left, retired Marine Capt. Dan Moran, center, receives the key to his new home in Cypress, Texas, Aug. 31, 2009. Moran's home was built by Helping a Hero, a nonprofit organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely wounded servicemembers
injured in theater during the war on terror.
DoD photo by Cherie Cullen
What most didn't expect is that Moran
would steal their hearts in the process, thanking them with
a humility and pride that brought tears to their eyes and
lumps to their throats. |
Gates had been personally moved before by the story of the
Marine he presented his “Aggie” diploma while serving as
president of Texas A&M University in December 2003.
Four years later, then as defense secretary, Gates met with
Moran as he was being treated for extensive burns received
in Iraq at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Moran received third-degree burns over 50 percent of his
body when his platoon was ambushed during his second tour of
duty in Ramadi, Iraq . He also suffered a compression
fracture to his T-8 vertebrae, herniated discs, a mild
traumatic brain injury and an inhalation injury.
He underwent more than 30 surgeries and spent two-and-a-half
years recovering at the Brooke burn center.
Wearing a Texas A&M T-shirt when Gates visited the center,
Moran asked the secretary to autograph his graduation photo,
then asked later for him to present his Purple Heart.
Last fall, Gates and former President George H.W. Bush
joined Moran on the field during a Texas A&M football game
and awarded him the Navy Commendation Medal with “V” for
Today, Gates presented Moran the keys to a brand-new home in
the Bridgeland community near Houston, donated through
HelpingaHero.org. The non-profit, non-partisan group funds
financial, emotional, educational, mentoring, recreational
and scholarship support for severely injured military
members and their families.
Meredith Iler, national chairperson for
HelpingaHero.org, called Moran a patriot who loves his
country deeply, served valiantly, and continues to reach out
to help other wounded warriors as they recover.
“Dan is a real hero and a true patriot,” Gates echoed. “He
is an inspiration to us.”
The new 3,300-square-foot home was funded by the Strake
Foundation, Rex and Marilyn King and the Injured Marine
Semper Fi Fund.
Perry Homes built it with special accommodations for Moran's
physical condition. It features tinted windows, a
high-efficiency air conditioner and heating system and other
enhanced temperature-control measures because Moran is no
longer able to control his body temperature.
The lot was selected to allow the least amount of direct
sunlight into the home. The house also includes an extended
covered porch to allow him to spend time outdoors with his
two children, Trey 4, and Macy, 2, without direct sun
“We are thrilled to be able to give something back to a man
who has given so very much for his country, and we know our
residents will gladly welcome the Morans and immediately
make them feel at home,” said Peter Houghton a Bridgeland
community vice president.
Gates said the new home “represents a new beginning and a
down payment on a new future.”
As Moran accepted the keys to the new home, he put his
prepared notes aside and decided to talk “from the heart.”
“I can never say thank you enough,” he told the group that
crowded every nook and cranny in his new home to watch the
ceremony, and flowed out along the front walkway and along
“What do I say to people who have given me so much? What can
I say? Words don't do justice,” he said. “So let me tell you
right now: It is going to be the way that I live my life.
And the way I am going to live my life is by honor, courage
Moran recognized everyone involved in “making this a
reality” -- from those who donated money to make it possible
to those who did the construction.
“You can rest assured,” he told them, “You made an
investment in me and other wounded warriors, and I promise
you, you will get a return on your investment in me.”
Moran said he refuses to live his life for himself and wants
it to honor his fallen Marines and others in and out of the
military who serve others.
“This is how I am going to pay you back, by how I live my
life and the impact I will have,” he said.
Moran said he's proud to be a Texan, an Aggie and an
“Americans never waiver. They never quit,” he said. “And
when faced with a challenge, they face it head-on.”
That's a standard Moran said he plans to pass on when he
talks to his son in his new backyard or in the adjoining
“That's what we believe is the standard that has been set,
and it's a standard we will continue to hold,” he said. “Nor
for ourselves, but for others.”
American Forces Press Service
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