SPRINGFIELD, MO – Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris joined with Helping a Hero to award a home to a deserving amputee, Marine Sergeant Joe Bartel of Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as to pay the mortgage for Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Barnes of Waynesville, Missouri. Originally Morris pledged 10 new specially adapted homes in May through the Helping a Hero organization. Johnny Morris made a surprise announcement that Bass Pro Shops will cover 25 percent of funding for the next 100 donated homes to encourage Americans to get involved in Helping a Hero’s Wounded Hero Home Program.
Veterans and their families gathered last Thursday at Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters Store in Springfield, Missouri for the surprise announcement. This week, the families had the opportunity to visit the “Grandaddy” Headquarters Store along with Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium and Big Cedar Lodge.
Morris officially presented the key to the first adapted home funded through the Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops donations to Bartel and his family of six in front of a national TV audience. The announcement led to tears and emotional reactions.
“Helping a Hero is an awesome organization,” said Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris. “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.”
“It’s humbling, and a great honor to hosts the veterans we have here with us today,” Morris continued. “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. We’re proud – everybody from Helping a Hero and from Bass Pro – to present Sergeant Bartel and his family with a new home and to support Staff Sergeant Daniel Barnes, from right here in our home state of Missouri, by paying off the mortgage on his new home. We would also like to pledge to chip in 25 percent for the next 100 homes and challenge people and encourage others to get involved with the Helping a Hero home program.”
Making an Appeal to Americans to Join the Cause
Morris and Bass Pro Shops have launched a nationwide challenge to inspire and encourage Americans to support and make a difference in the lives of our nation’s heroes. Individuals and businesses can get involved by visiting HelpingaHero.org.