Hollywood star and former sex symbol Bo Derek just spoke out to open up about her passion for helping American veterans.
Derek explained to Fox News that her father was a radio operator during the Korean War, and that her stepfather and late husband, actor/director John Derek, were also veterans.
“I remember I ran into then the secretary of veterans affairs, Anthony Principi, and he tells me about the rehabilitation events for disabled veterans,” said Derek, 63. “These are incredibly moving events. And yet they were having trouble going because some people, perhaps, maybe were uncomfortable – we’re talking about 400 people with all kinds of disabilities. Well, my stepmom is quadriplegic, so I already had a comfort level, I guess.”
“But when I went to my first Snowmass event, I was moved,” she added. “Just seeing 400 disabled veterans and the volunteers who were there to make sure that they would offer them whatever they needed, whatever they wanted to do in winter sports, no matter their disability, even if it required adapting some equipment, that it didn’t matter, it could be done. That does something do you.”
Derek went on to say that her first event helping veterans was in 2001, and it changed her life forever.
“They say ‘miracles on a mountainside,’ but it really is,” said Derek. “I ended up becoming a chairperson for all the events. It was just so much fun. I did that for seven years. It’s more than just sports, although they’re incredibly fun. You really get to sit down and get to know these heroes on a personal level. It was an honor.”
Since then, Derek has been an outspoken supporter of the American Hometown Heroes Initiative, which aims to help veterans find work after returning home from service.
“I remembered there was a side project going on with the Library of Congress of getting these veterans to tell their stories, their war stories,” she remembered. “I sat in on as many as I could. I remember there was one veteran from World War I. That was incredible. He hadn’t even talked to his family about his experience, but for some reason, there was this atmosphere of being around other veterans that allowed him to be comfortable and share his story. It was very moving to hear his story and the conditions he endured.”
“You didn’t have the medical or communication advances we have today,” Derek continued. “And yet there was that courage. That’s the one message I always try to share whenever I get involved. There’s just so much we don’t do for our heroes.”
This piece originally appeared in UpliftingToday.com and is used by permission.
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