Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris joined with Helping a Hero recently to award a home to a deserving recipient, Marine SGT Joe Bartel of Aberdeen, NC. The key to the adapted home was presented to Bartel and his family of six in front of a national TV audience. Morris also paid the mortgage for Army S/SGT Daniel Barnes of Waynesville, MO.
Morris originally pledged 10 new, specially adapted homes in May through the Helping a Hero organization, but in a surprise announcement this month he pledged Bass Pro Shops will cover 25 percent of funding for the next 100 donated homes. “Helping a Hero is an awesome organization,” he said. “When I hear the words to Helping a Hero’s national ambassador Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA,’ every word of that song hits home and reminds us how lucky we are to be able to call America our home.
We’re coming up on our 50th anniversary at Bass Pro Shops, and it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for those who have defended our freedoms and those who support conservation. My Dad was in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge, and my friend Emil Martinka served in World War II as well and has been with our company for many years now.”
“Receiving this home is like a dream come true,” said Marine Sgt Joe Bartel. “As an amputee I have struggled to do daily tasks including taking a shower independently. Having a home with wider doors, a roll in shower and other features will change my life. I will finally have complete independence through this Helping a Hero home and it will give my wife peace of mind when she isn’t there to help me.”
“This incredible and unexpected gift reminds me that America is the greatest nation in the world,” said Barnes. “When I fought to protect our freedom and protect our way of life, I never expected someone to pay off my mortgage and help my family have this huge burden lifted from our shoulders. My wife Gretchen and I are speechless and overwhelmed with joy. Words can’t express how we feel and our gratitude for Johnny and people like him that do so much for veterans.”
“It’s humbling, and a great honor to host the veterans we have here with us today,” Morris said during the broadcast. “We can never do enough to thank these families and all of our veterans who defend our freedoms. They mean everything to us and we’re very grateful. That’s not just from me, it’s everyone in our company and the outdoor community we serve. We’re all very proud to salute our veterans.”