Helping a Hero and Bass Pro Shops Founder Partner to Build Hoem for Aberdeen Veteran

Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris has joined with Helping a Hero to award a home to Sergeant Joe Bartel and his family.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Monday, Aug. 16, at 11 a.m., at 700 Winds Way in Aberdeen. Special guests include American country singer-songwriter Lee Greenwood, SSgt. (ret.) Shilo Harris, and Meredith Iler, founder of Helping a Hero.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris presented the key to the first adapted home funded through the Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops donations to Sgt. Bartel and his family (left) in front of a national TV audience in July. SSgt. Daniel Barnes and his family (right) were also in attendance.

Bartel, the oldest of seven children, grew up in Alaska where he enjoyed hunting and fishing. In 2000, he enlisted in the Marines and served a nine-month deployment during the initial invasion of Iraq.

When he returned home, he struggled with survivors’ guilt, and still felt the call to serve and to protect the freedom he wanted for his family. Bartel joined the Army and once again deployed to Iraq as part of the surge.

The 5-bedroom Helping a Hero home in the Winds Way Farm development will be constructed by Caviness Land Development. It is designed to restore Bartel’s daily independence with wider doors, adapted restroom facilities, and other safety features throughout.

“Receiving this home is like a dream come true,” Bartel said. “As an amputee I have struggled to do daily tasks including taking a shower independently. Having a home with wider doors, a roll in shower and other features will change my life. I will finally have complete independence through this Helping a Hero home and it will give my wife peace of mind when she isn’t there to help me.”