Courageous Hearts: AZ Heroes to Hometowns

Posted: Updated:
Will McDermott is a Purple Heart recipient.(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Will McDermott is a Purple Heart recipient.(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Will McDermott was wounded during three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: Will McDermott) Will McDermott was wounded during three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: Will McDermott)
Will McDermott said transitioning from the battlefield to normal life was a difficult process. (Source: Will McDermott) Will McDermott said transitioning from the battlefield to normal life was a difficult process. (Source: Will McDermott)
Kathy Pearce is the executive director of AZ Heroes to Hometowns. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Kathy Pearce is the executive director of AZ Heroes to Hometowns. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Kathy Pearce's son, Brent, suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost his legs and the use of his left arm after his truck was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq. (Source: Kathy Pearce) Kathy Pearce's son, Brent, suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost his legs and the use of his left arm after his truck was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq. (Source: Kathy Pearce)

All month long, CBS 5 is partnering with Fry's Food Stores to pay it forward to our military families and wounded warriors.

Wake Up Arizona's Preston Phillips introduces us to a Valley nonprofit organization that's helping wounded veterans transition back into the community.

Will McDermott is a Purple Heart recipient. He was wounded during three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"People tell you like, oh, you're a hero or you're this or you're that. I think 99 percent of the guys you talk to, we're always going to say, hey the heroes are the guys that don't come home, heroes don't come home," said McDermott, a married father of four, who added, transitioning from the battlefield to normal life was a difficult process.

"I fell flat on my face and didn't really kind of have any idea about what I was going to do or, you know, where I was going to get some help," McDermott said.

That's where Kathy Pearce and her nonprofit organization, AZ Heroes to Hometowns, came in.

"I birthed five children, but I have a lot more than that now and I just feel like this is what I can do. I can't go to war, but I can make sure they're taken care of when they come home," said Pearce, AZ Heroes to Hometowns executive director.

Pearce has a huge heart and truly understands what the men and women of our military go through just to keep us safe and free.

In 2004, her son, Brent, suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost both of his legs and the use of his left arm after the tactical truck he was driving was blown up by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

McDermott and others like him call Pearce mom -- that's how much she is loved!

"You have tough times and you kind of push through it, but by the grace of God and people like Kathy, you're able to," McDermott said.

"Lets me know that what we're doing is working and that's what's important, that we are making a difference in their lives," Pearce said.

So when you donate to Fry's Food Stores during our Courageous Hearts campaign, know that your money is going directly to helping out families like this, to make sure their transition from the battlefield to the real world is as painless as possible.

"You know that you have somebody there, even if it's just to talk to. It's something we can rely on, you know, and that helps," said Amy McDermott, Will's wife.

This is a month-long event happening at Fry's Food Stores all over the Valley. So far we've raised $43,000 of the $200,000 goal.

You can donate until the end of February and 100 percent of proceeds go to veterans and their families.

The money raised is split between four nonprofit organizations, USO, AZ Heroes to Hometowns, Fighter Country Partnership and Packages From Home.

[More stories and information about Courageous Hearts]

Copyright 2017 KPHO (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.