Spirit Of A Hero

No Arms | No Legs | No Problem

Donations to one local nonprofit go toward feeding the can-do spirit that lies within military veterans who face some of life's most demanding physical, mental, emotional and social challenges after being critically wounded. Founder Rick Turner shares that the Spirit of a Hero charitable group provides financial, developmental and community support to veterans of the US armed forces and their families.

During April 2012, Rick, who is a former 82nd Airborne Division special parachute operator, Operation Desert Storm fire support specialist and Purple Heart recipient, says he read the story of a young 82nd Airborne paratrooper who had lost all four limbs. "This young man, SSGT Travis Mills, had lost his limbs but not his spirit. He was determined to drive on and be the husband and father he always intended despite his injuries," he recalls. "I knew I had to do something to help, so I organized a motorcycle ride that, in one day, raised $38,805. From that day on, the spirit to help was sparked and Spirit of a Hero was born."

Travis, 25 at the time, whose in-laws live in Frisco, was serving his third deployment in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. Experts reasoned that Travis' size detonated a mine that smaller soldiers had trekked over safely, leaving him one of the war’s five quadruple-amputee survivors.

The name “Spirit of a Hero” truly describes who we are and who we help, says Rick's wife, Tancy, who is co-founder and executive director of the 501(c)3 organization. "The men and women we help have sacrificed limbs to protect our freedom. While many people would have given up, these brave service members decided to fight."

While the Turners hoped to secure 100 bikers donating $50 each for that first fundraiser, the caravan ended up consisting of 1,800 motorcycles. They recall how everything just fell into place, like it was predestined to happen. 

To date, the group has assisted the following heroes:

  • 2012 Recipient – SSGT Travis Mills – Quadruple amputee.
  • 2013 Recipient – SGT Jordan Folmar – Double leg amputee.
  • 2014 Recipient – SSgt Marcus Burleson – Double arm amputee.
  • 2015 Recipient – SSgt Omar Milan – Single leg amputee, soft tissue and nerve damage to left leg, damage to left hand with loss of index finger, and damage to right arm with loss of the elbow and nerve damage.
  • 2016 Recipient – Sgt Adam Mayo – Quadriplegic.
  • 2017 Recipient – Cpl Brian Aft – Double leg amputee.
  • 2018 Recipient - SGT Stephen Jackel - Double leg amputee.
  • 2019-20 Recipient - Navy SEAL Dan Licardo - Double leg amputee.
  • 2021 Recipient - Sgt Michael Carnell - Stage IV Colon and Liver Cancer.

To nominate a potential recipient, email info@spiritofahero.org.

Any donation, large or small, goes to help a combat wounded veteran and their families, says Spirit treasurer Joe Hockaday. "Our all-volunteer board does what it takes to help raise awareness, funds and spirits of our wounded veterans," he adds.

Jack says online or mailed donations can be shared in memory of certain heroes. 


Save The Dates:

  1. Spirit of a Hero's Annual Gala is scheduled for Sept. 17, 2022.
  2. 11th Annual Spirit of a Hero Motorcycle Ride and Benefit Concert for SGT Michael Carnell, USMC, will be Oct. 16 [starting at Strokers Dallas and ending at American Eagle H-D in Corinth].

The name “Spirit of a Hero” truly describes who we are and who we help.

Related Businesses

Related Articles