Staff Sergeant Heath T. Calhoun
On the evening of July 8, 2005, at Constitution Hall in Washington, Staff Sergeant Heath Calhoun was the recipient of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Medal of Honor. He also received the DAR's Outstanding Veteran Patient Award. This was the first time in DAR history that the same person had received both awards.
Staff Sergeant Heath T. Calhoun, dreamed of being a soldier all of his life while growing up in southwest Virginia. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a Vietnam veteran, and his grandfather who served as a soldier in World War II. At the age of 23, he was deployed to Iraq as a member of the 101st Airborne Division as an Army Ranger. Soon after arriving in theater, a rocket-propelled grenade hit his Humvee as he was transporting troops to Mosul in 2003. His life was saved by his fellow soldiers, but both legs had to be amputated above the knee. Sergeant Calhoun was evacuated to the Walter Reed Army Hospital where he found a backpack strapped to his carrier that contained clothes, toiletries, and other items he might need his first few days in the hospital. It was a gift from the Wounded Warrier Project.
With courage and determination, Sergeant Calhoun (image) managed to quickly adapt to prosthetics. At the same time, he began reaching out to veteran-patients and returning soldiers offering encouragement and companionship. He has supported and worked with many programs that raise awareness of the plight of the returning wounded and that provide counseling for soldiers. This courageous veteran, a husband and father of two, has now become one of the national spokesmen for the Wounded Warrior Project.
This summer he is participating in Soldier Ride, a bike ride across the United States to raise awareness and funds for the Project. He is one soldier who has turned real adversity into something that supports and gives strength to others. He claims not to be a hero, but is instead someone who never quits. “I want people to just know that I never quit” he said to the assembled members of the DAR. However, the people in Sergeant Calhoun’s community consider him a hero.
Meet the riders of the Soldier Ride 2005 National Tour Team
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