Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The AUGUST Hero of the Month - Rusty Dunagan

We've decided to allow a little extra time to receive letters for our hero of the month, since we had such difficulty collecting for our last one. This month's hero was nominated by his Aunt, Susan Porter. She describes Rusty better than I ever could, so I will let you enjoy parts of her nomination letter so you can get to know Rusty a little better...

"During the wee morning hours of 9/22/2010, my birthday, while the dew still clung to the grass, and the sun had barely graced the darkness, my nephew, Sgt. Rusty Dunagan and his unit, encountered an IED during a routine patrol in Afghanistan. When the IED exploded, Rusty was thrown into a creek with sewer laden water. He remembers in quite vivid detail trying to get up, but being unable to do so. Looking around for an explanation, Rusty then realized the reason why he couldn't get up---it was then that he recognized one of his legs on the embankment. Rusty lost both legs and his left arm, becoming one of 23 triple amputees from this war. But another type of war was just beginning. The open wounds from his limb loss created a breeding ground from the bacteria in the water; and Rusty had lost quite a bit of blood.
I was with Rusty when he received his purple heart. Very little was said as the gold medal, hanging by a wide purple ribbon, was pinned to his chest. Deplete of fanfare, or a cheering crowd, normally expressed at an awards ceremony, there was a very profound silence. This medal is not one that a soldier seeks, for it demands the greatest of sacrifice.

Rusty is an incredible young man, with an earthy laugh and an amazing sense of humor. His father, Richard Dunagan said it best, "The best parts of Rusty were not taken."  The 34 surgeries he has encountered have not daunted his eagerness to live life to the fullest, nor has it stopped him from being a great father and excellent husband."

Wow, what a hero! Rusty is currently living in Oklahoma (To all of my Oklahomans out there, let's show him some Okie love!). He loves to read, play video games and, of course, spend time with is family.
Rusty is also a huge movie buff! If he could meet any actor, it would be Clint Eastwood (he's a HUGE fan) followed by Bruce Willis and Will Smith.

Alright, you guys know the drill! Send us your letters of encouragement for Rusty at

We will be taking letters until August 5th at midnight, but don't delay! The sooner we have the letters, the better!

UPDATE - We will be presenting these letters to Rusty (IN PERSON) on August 6th in Guthrie, OK!

If you'd like to help with the cost of our Hero of the Month Program (includes printing, shipping, and the goodies inside each package) Please follow the link below. Thank you!

Do you know someone who needs some encouragement and you think could be our next HERO OF THE MONTH?! Click HERE to find out how to nominate them!

We just wanted to let everyone know that we were able to personally hand Rusty his package of letters. It was such an honor to shake his hand!