CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- State Sen. Greg Ball, chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, along with Purple Heart Homes co-founders Dale Beatty and John Gallina, will visit students from Brian O’Connor’s fifth-grade class at Seven Bridges Middle School in Chappaqua on Thursday, April 3.
Beatty was named a top 10 "CNN Hero" in 2013.
O’Connor has built a lesson plan for his fifth-graders about heroes and role models. He has the students watch "CNN Hero" segments, then they discuss why individuals selected by CNN have become heroes and role models. He encourages the class to emulate their spirit by overcoming odds and obstacles to achieve a dream and make the world a better place. Then he has his students write letters to selected heroes, thanking them for what they do.
A stack of those letters arrived at the Purple Heart Homes headquarters in Statesville, N.C., in a bundle with a letter from the teacher thanking CNN Hero Dale Beatty for his service to the country.
As a result of those letters, Purple Heart Homes co-founders along with Ball will pay a visit to the Seven Bridges Middle School so the students can meet meet Beatty and Gallina in person.
"I would like to commend Brian O’Connor for the important life lessons he is instilling into his students," Ball said in a statement. "It is awesome to be teaming up with Dale and John from Purple Heart Homes to visit with these future leaders, as well as working with them to renovate a home in Pawling for Private Daniel Flanigan, a service-connected disabled veteran and Purple Heart recipient.”
Purple Heart Homes is a nonprofit based in Statesville, N.C., co-founded in 2008 by Beatty and Gallina. Beatty and Gallina, two Iraq combat-wounded veterans who remain on a mission to provide housing solutions to service-connected disabled veterans who served in all eras.
After the middle school visit, Ball, Beatty and Gallina will introduce the community to Flanigan, who will be the recipient of a complete home renovation.