Specialist Rick Turner
|Specialist Rick Turner
United States Army
|Submitted by Linda Asbell
"to recognize a great man of service"
United States Army Specialist Rick Turner followed in the footsteps of his grandfather when he, at the age of 18, joined the United States Army and became part of the elite 82nd Airborne Division. Five months after graduating from Jump School in Fort Benning, Georgia, Specialist Turner was deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division to Panama. Within two weeks of being in Panama, Specialist Turner was shot in the back of the head by a sniper. He received a Purple Heart for his injuries. After spending three months recovering from his injuries at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas he returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Specialist Turner was only at Fort Bragg a few weeks before being deployed to Iraq where he spent the next 18 months.
Following his deployment and honorable discharge Specialist Turner returned to Texas where he spent the next several years working as an electrician and trying to put the memories of war behind him. In 2012, while on an electrical job, Rick stopped to have lunch in the building’s deli. He saw the Dallas Morning News open to an article about a 24-year old 82nd Airborne paratrooper, Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, who stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost all four limbs. The memories of war came flooding back and he knew he had to take action to help this young man, his wife and their infant daughter.
Rick Turner and his wife, Tancy, began planning a motorcycle ride and benefit for SSG Mills. The Turner’s raised over $32,000 for Travis and his family in one day. The outpouring of support and requests to continue fundraising efforts led the Turner’s to create the Spirit of a Hero Foundation. The foundation supports a "Hero", selected each year, and it has created a community of veterans that have become family and support each other. Rick is not only the Founder of Spirit of a Hero, he also is very active in Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, a member of the Elk’s Lodge and a Master Blue Lodge Mason. Rick is dedicated to supporting our Veterans in any way he can.