SGT James “Eddie” Wright, USMC (Ret.). Learn how you can help at helpingahero.org.
GLENN: We have an amazing Marine Corps sergeant with us, Eddie Wright. He's retired and he is here with Cody, his fiancé, and we want to tell you his story here in a second but first I want to put the camera on him and — what a greedy — how many medals do you need?
PAT: I mean, that's more than you need right there.
GLENN: Can you turn his microphone on, please?
PAT: Eddie, that's more — what about redistribution of medals? There are people cowering somewhere in a corner that don't have any, they don't have any medals.
GLENN: How many medals do you need?
SGT. WRIGHT: Well, I don't need any.
GLENN: How many do you have? Tell me what they are. There's the bronze star, I recognize that, the Purple Heart. Then I'm lost on my medals.
SGT. WRIGHT: And some of these are — well, the one next to the Purple Heart is the good conduct. I barely squeaked by with that one.
GLENN: Yeah. Good conduct, that just means you didn't screw up anything, right?
SGT. WRIGHT: Well, I didn't get caught, yes, sir.
GLENN: Right, okay. I mean, everybody gets that. That's like the — that's like the — that's like the participation award, isn't it?
SGT. WRIGHT: Well, yes, sir. I mean, you know, you earn them all, but —
PAT: Now, what is a bronze star with V device? Because I understand you have a bronze star with V device? Is that right? Or —
SGT. WRIGHT: Yes, sir, yes, sir.
PAT: What does that mean?
SGT. WRIGHT: Well, I got that April 7, 2004, for doing my job. That was the day that we were ambushed and that's the day that I lost my hands and, you know, we were all just doing what we do and trying to stay alive. And the Marine Corps showed their appreciation and gave that to me.
Glenn Beck is seen here on GlennBeck.TV, a feature available exclusively to Glenn Beck Insider Extreme members. Learn more...
GLENN: How did you lose your hands?
SGT. WRIGHT: We were working in Fallujah. I was serving as the assistant team leader with the first recon battalion and we came under heavy enemy fire. We were ambushed by small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars and rockets, and in the course of the ambush, I was struck by a rocket propelled grenade which instantly blew off my hands.
GLENN: Jeez. Do you ever regret it? Do you ever regret signing up?
SGT. WRIGHT: No, I don't regret it at all. In fact —
GLENN: May I? May I predict? You're kind of pissed because you want to go back and be with your buddies.
SGT. WRIGHT: Yes, sir, that's a common theme. I really — you know, one of the things that motivated me in my recovery was the fact that I wanted to return back and serve again, and I did get that chance and I did, did get that chance to serve again, and my last year in the Marine Corps before I retired, I was able to instruct at the martial arts center of excellence at the basic school in Quantico, Virginia which is, you know, quite an experience for me.
GLENN: There was never a time, never a time that you thought, "I don't have hands. What am I going to do?" I mean, was there a time where you were quite honestly pissed off or, why me?
SGT. WRIGHT: No, I don't think so. I don't think I let myself get complacent or — you know, we don't really have an attitude, we don't foster the attitude of "I can't" or "I quit." And when you have an obstacle in front of you, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on what you can.
GLENN: America, let me tell you something. This is exactly, exactly why we're doing 8/28. Here's a guy with incredible honor. Here's a guy who has sacrificed more than I will ever sacrifice. Here is a guy who has an American attitude of, "What? We just do it." This is why our country is struggling right now. Because there's not enough of us that are just like, "Do the damn job," and it's an honor to do the job. I am deeply humbled by not only you but all of the brothers that you serve with. It is remarkable what you guys accomplish, and we can never thank you enough, although I do believe you have far too many medals. It's a showoff kind of thing. It's really — all right. Now, you're here for a reason. You are in New York for a reason and I want to get to some happy news here. There's two pieces of happiness. First, with you is Meredith. Meredith, how do you say your last name? I'm sorry.
ILER: It's actually Iler.
GLENN: Iler, okay. So Meredith, you are with helpingahero.org?
GLENN: And tell me about Helping a Hero.
ILER: Helpingahero.org is actually a national 501(c)(3) and we build homes for specially adapted specially adapted homes for our wounded heroes who have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
GLENN: So in other words, like the cabinets, you don't have to — you can just hit them and they open, they pop up?
VOICE: Correct. Eddie was actually our very first double arm amputee and so to date we've done paraplegic, quadriplegic, a triple amputee who's missing both legs and an arm, a blind hero, another hero who's blind in one eye and is an amputee. So we have all kinds of challenges that we've been tackling over the last few years, and this was a wonderful challenge to look at ways we could improve Eddie's life, and you are right. The pop out cabinets were a great thing, but the two things that I think are even bigger highlights is Toto donated an automatic toilet that, once again, someone with no hands, it does everything for you. And then we also —
GLENN: This is — hold on just a second. Hold on just a second because I think there's —
PAT: I don't know that we need to delve into that.
GLENN: Okay, all right.
ILER: I was trying to be diplomatic, Glenn.
GLENN: How's that working out for you, Eddie? Is that working out well?
SGT. WRIGHT: Well, I'll let you know when I try it out.
GLENN: Okay, all right. And how are you — how do you raise funds or what do you do?
ILER: Well, you know, it's great. People who are listening to your show can go to helpingahero.org and make a donation this morning. My cellphone has already been going off a ton with people making online donations. And it's real exciting because we've had lots of families, lots of individual donors who are stepped up over the last few years. We haven't really delved into the large corporate support like a lot of other 501(c)(3)s. And the other thing that's unique about Helping a Hero is we don't have any paid staff.
GLENN: That's good.
ILER: I even pay my assistant personally and then, you know, she spends about 60% of her time on Helping a Hero, as do I.
GLENN: That's great.
PAT: And so what you guys do is donate homes to badly injured veterans. And has it — is it 20 so far that you've —
ILER: We've completed 20 and we've awarded 26.
ILER: And then we actually will give away another 15 on November 12th and we'll accept applications through August 31st for other severely wounded heroes that might be listening to this show or people who know those who need adaptive housing.
PAT: And so Eddie was one of the recipients yesterday at a ceremony in Conroe, Texas, which is probably one of the northernmost suburbs of Houston, and at this ceremony something pretty special happened. What was that?
SGT. WRIGHT: Yes, sir.
GLENN: This is so cool.
SGT. WRIGHT: As soon as I got done saying thank you to all the sponsors and the Montgomery County community and the families that helped out, I had the opportunity to do something to make the day even more special and more meaningful, and I proposed to my girlfriend Cody Fife.
PAT: And did she politely decline?
GLENN: She was like, I don't know, man.
SGT. WRIGHT: She did not.
GLENN: It's the medals. I mean, you wear them to bed. You sound like you are walking around with keys all the time. Did you hear him move a second ago?
PAT: Sounds like he's got spurs.
GLENN: You can hear the medals clink and you're like, okay.
PAT: Got spurs on his chest.
GLENN: So Cody —
PAT: Sorry to wreck the story, go ahead. What did you say to him?
GLENN: We don't mean to cheapen the story at all but that's what they pay us very well to do. So Cody, did you know it was coming?
FIFE: I did not. And by the way, the medals, they don't bother me too much. I did not — I was very surprised, very surprised.
PAT: So no inkling at all that it was coming?
FIFE: No. I mean, you know, when you're a girl and in love, you always hope. I was hoping it would happen soon but I didn't know.
GLENN: Did he ask your father?
FIFE: He did.
FIFE: He did.
GLENN: You can marry that man then.
FIFE: Yeah, he asked my father.
GLENN: Dad said — what did dad say?
FIFE: What did Dad say?
SGT. WRIGHT: He said — he said — well —
PAT: You better treat her right or I'll be coming for you?
SGT. WRIGHT: Well, no, he didn't go that far.
GLENN: Here's what my —
SGT. WRIGHT: He approved and in a roundabout way he said hell yes.
GLENN: That's great.
SGT. WRIGHT: Pardon my French.
GLENN: It's not French technically. They keep saying that. I know, it's not. May be Spanish but it's not French. My father in law was like, oh, jeez, oh, dear God. That's what my father in law said.
GLENN: But anyway, thank you so much.
SGT. WRIGHT: You're welcome.
GLENN: Sincerely thank you for your service. Thank you for everything you've done. We've asked you a few minutes ago if you will join at 8/28 and stand with Marcus Luttrell and Greg Stube, a good friend of mine and Sarah Palin and I at the opening of 8/28, and we'd love to have you there.
SGT. WRIGHT: It would be an honor, sir. Thank you very much.
GLENN: Thank you. Thank you for your service. Congratulations, Cody. And Meredith, you are just, you are doing great, great work. Great work. And thank you for your service to our —
GLENN: Yeah. Thank you for everything that you do.