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In the video that makes up the meat of this blog post, I talked to three men who have been awarded medals. This is a sports blog, so most of the time when it covers the subject of medals, we’re referring to someone who finished in the top three in a competition like the Olympic Games. And there’s a guy like that in this trio of interviewees. His name is Morgan Wade and he’s won multiple medals at the X Games (and elsewhere) competing in freestyle BMX events.

He’s a pretty special guy to talk to on his own, but it was the other two gentlemen that made this interview so unique. They earned their medals not through the enjoyment of sport but through the serious business of war. Mike Thornton and Gary Littrell both earned the Medal of Honor through heroic actions they performed during the conflict in Vietnam. They’ve also been friends for decades, a bond that is apparent during the interview.

Their association with Wade is fueled by the passion the rider has for supporting the troops. He and a cadre of athletes from his sport frequently travel overseas to entertain soldiers. We conducted this interview as part of a video shoot the group was doing to promote an upcoming fundraiser for families of fallen soldiers and the Medal for Honor Character Development Program. In the interview, we discuss the Tribute to Valor event and the reasons for the program.

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I’ve done a lot of video shoots, and sometimes circumstances cooperate. Sometimes they don’t. In this case most of North Texas needed rain. We didn’t. You’ll hear the precipitation clattering on the roof of the gym as we talked, and you’ll probably be amused when Gary Littrell totally can’t hear my question because of the racket. We then had to wait for the rain to end and for skatepark personnel (plus Wade himself) to dry the necessary surfaces so we could shoot video of the trio on the ramps. Nobody complained. Nobody was impatient. Everybody, including the Medal of Honor recipients, eventually enjoyed watching Wade do sick tricks up close.

A little weather delay didn’t bother these men. The character development program they promote aims to provide children a grounding in the attributes of courage, commitment, integrity, sacrifice, citizenship, and patriotism. One could easily add perspective to that list. These men are all well-qualified to provide it.

The Tribute to Valor event happens October 12-15. It features a Friday night mix-and-mingle at the Cendera Center, a Saturday luncheon at the Sheraton DFW, a Saturday evening gala at the Sheraton, and a Monday golf tournament at the Dallas Athletic Club. Details can be found at tributetovalorweekend.com.

 

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