Friends, veterans mourn loss of Purple Heart Homes co-founder Dale Beatty
Read Dale Beatty's Obituary: http://svlfreenews.com/obits/dale-ivey-beatty
BY HALEY JONES
Local veteran and Purple Heart Homes co-founder Dale Beatty passed away unexpectedly on Monday morning, leaving behind his wife Belinda, and their three children. He was 39.
News of Beatty's death spread via social media early Monday afternoon, and the soldier's friends began paying tribute to the Statesville resident:
"We lost a good man way too soon. Google Dale Beatty and Purple Heart Homes," wrote Ed Salau. "You will see a legacy across this country, evidence of a life well lived by a man whose service to fellow Veterans is literally unmatched. He left his mark. Tell Dale’s story so his children will hear us now and in the future. Tell the story of his life."
"RIP Dale Beatty: a true hero and an amazing human being. I talked to Dale a lot and he really helped me after the fire of my house," wrote Allyn Parlier. "I’m extremely saddened to hear of his passing and hope we can all come together for him and his family.”
"I just heard the news that my friend and superhero has passed away," shared Erin Glasheen. "Combat vet and cofounder of Purple Heart Homes. My thoughts and prayers to your family, sir. You made a difference in so many veterans lives.”
The cause of Beatty's death was not immediately available.
Beatty and his friend and fellow veteran John Gallina co-founded Purple Heart Homes, a Statesville-based non-profit that provides housing solutions for qualified Service Connected Disabled Veterans, in 2008.
A LIFE OF SERVICE
Beatty and Gallina joined the North Carolina National Guard in 1996, serving in Charlie Battery 1st of the 113th Field Artillery. As part of their unit, they helped victims of Hurricane Fran and Hurricane Floyd, gaining experience that helped both men “gain a humanitarian passion and spirit”.
On Nov. 15, 2004, the friends were serving with the 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom near Bayji, Iraq, when their armored Humvee hit two anti-tank mines. In the ensuing explosion, Beatty was pinned under the Humvee and critically injured.
Due to the severity of his injuries, Beatty’s legs were amputated below the knee, and he spent a year recovering at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., and learning to use his prosthetic legs.
He recounted in an interview from CNN how lucky he was.
“I’ve met people that have been hurt a lot worse than me that have lived full, fulfilling lives. So there’s no excuse for me not to,” Beatty said.
During his time of recovery, Beatty hoped to build a home for his family, but given his new reality -- two prosthetic legs, and at times -- a wheelchair, he wasn’t sure how to bring this hope to fruition.
That’s when a member of his church, who knew of his situation, took action and convinced the Iredell County Builder’s Association to help Beatty build a wheelchair-accessible home with wide doorways and roll-in bathrooms on land donated by Beatty’s father. Volunteers helped build the home.
When the house was finished, Beatty and Gallina, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when their Humvee exploded, decided to pay the act forward, helping other disabled veterans.
PURPLE HEART HOMES
With their experiences, the pair applied their training to their own community. Never leave a soldier behind on the battlefield gained a whole new meaning when applied to fellow veterans on the home front.
Beatty and Gallina pooled their military disability payments together and started Purple Heart Homes. The nonprofit enables and encourages communities to form chapters to support their local veterans; renovates homes and adds handicapped-accessible features to existing homes for veterans; offers comprehensive mentor program that serves the veteran, caregiver and family members; and provides the community a way to show their appreciation.
In November of 2017, the non-profit announced the completion of its 300th veteran project.
Beatty and his organization have gained national recognition, noted for their humanitarian work and compassion for the veteran community. Below are some of those recognitions:
• Time magazine featured Beatty on its Aug. 29, 2001, cover. He was recognized along with other U.S. veterans who are committed to improving the lives of others.
• Beatty received the Hope and Courage Award from Hope for the Warriors organization in 2011.
• Beatty received the DAR Medal of Honor award from the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2012.
• Beatty was named one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013.
• Beatty received the Citizens Honor Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation in 2014.
• In 2016, Beatty was featured in a one-hour documentary titled “Military Medicine: Beyond the Battlefield.” The documentary tells the stories of men and women who are at the forefront of the medical frontier, “winning victories for military personnel and civilians.”