MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – As celebrations occur this Memorial Day weekend in remembrance veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, some folks in McKinney are using the weekend to honor a wounded veteran.
Rains stopped just in time to clear the way for crowds to gather as they have now for the last ten years to enjoy music and raise money for wounded veterans in need of new homes.
“I mean this is something that will benefit me every day of my life in a huge way,” retired Air Force SSgt Jason Morgan said.
Morgan is this year’s recipient at the annual Smiles Charity concert and family festival. Money raised will go toward making his current McKinney home wheelchair-accessible.
“The sinks are up way too high, so I can’t lean over them, so shaving, brushing my teeth I can’t even use the sink. I have to use the toilet basically, so we’ll have a sink right above my knees that I can roll underneath and use the sink,” Morgan said.
Lately it’s a change of pace for Morgan to be on the receiving end of help. After a 1999 ambush during a South American counter narcotics mission left him paralyzed, Morgan went on to counsel other wounded veterans and help them get service dogs like his own Black Labrador, Rue.
“I can tell you right now I’m kind of blown away that this is for me. I can’t believe all the people here and all the support. Sorry it’s a little bit emotional, but to see all the support for me, it’s just hard to believe,” Morgan said.
Morgan says he’s grateful to see so many people gather not only to have a good time on a holiday weekend, but also to recognize that veterans need the public’s support.
“It’s still a struggle even after 17 years it’s still difficult at times, but days like today make it all worth it,” Morgan said.
Normally when Smiles Charity builds a house from scratch, they have to wait until the beginning of the year to break ground, but this year they hope to begin the improvements on Morgan’s home later this summer.