For the first time in its 10-year history, the country’s largest gathering of wounded combat veterans gathered in Coronado on Monday.
The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes played host to the uplifting conference for veterans and their families and paid for all of them to attend.
The conference provided healing for attendees, such as Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient Dave Roever. He recounted to the group his wife’s reaction when she saw him for the first time after he was burned in combat.
His words sparked laughter and tears from the other veterans.
“I love you for who you are not what you look like,” he said his wife told him.
Sharing with others is something that many veterans find hard to do, said vet Don Urbany. He was injured by an IED while delivering school supplies to children in Iraq.
“This is all about talking and sharing and being open,” he said.
At the conference, he learned from others about healing, while his wife shared advice, including how she leaves lots of helpful notes for her husband.
“He can feel like independent like he's doing it himself, but I am in the background guiding him,” Jennifer Urbany said.
The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes also helps families with financial assistance -- anything from mortgage payments and car payments to medical bills, said president and CEO Dave Walker.
“We provide emergency aid anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000,” Walker said.
The purpose is to bring wounded combat veterans together to remind them to stay on the path to recovery.
“There's never an ending of the road, but whatever you’re at that transition, the race that you’re on in life, whatever you learn you can help each other out,” said Iraq War veteran Richard Silva.