Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Combating War Wounds with Wakeboarding

Horton's Heroes My Life My BoatFeatured as the Malibu Boats (@MalibuBoats) “My Life My Boat” January honoree, Attila Tassi, is an amazing boat owner. But his remarkable story has less to do with his boat and more to do with his compassion and his organization Horton’s Heroes. Tassi created this non-profit to support injured service personnel undergoing therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital. His goal is to bring some sense of normalcy to their lives and to show these men and women that people do care. Horton’s Heroes does this by giving wounded soldiers the opportunity to experience fun activities they otherwise might not have the ability to enjoy. Wakeboarding behind Tassi’s Hero Edition Malibu Wakesetter VLX, sky diving, visiting professional sporting events, going to dinner or seeing a movie are just some of the activities Horton’s Heroes is making possible for military men and women who sacrifice so much for our country.

Additional Links
Horton’s Heroes Facebook Fan Page
Horton’s Heroes on Flickr
Malibu’s My Life My Boat Movement
Horton’s Heroes Continuing Coverage on

Horton's Heroes was launched in 2004 by a private citizen, Tassi, looking to make a difference in the lives of Marines, Soldiers, Navy Personnel and Airmen who have served and been wounded in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Incorporated on October 11, 2007, Horton's Heroes mission is to support injured service personnel undergoing therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital; to try to bring some sense of normalcy to their lives; to show these men and women that people do care.

Horton’s Heroes was named for Tim Horton and represents all of the injured service men and women like him. Formerly a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corp, Tim’s left leg was amputated as a result of being injured during his tour of duty in Iraq. Tim was a resident of Walter Reed for some time under going surgeries and working through recovery. He met Attila at this baseball game and now according to Tim, “I consider him [Attila] one of my best friends.”

Horton’s response to questions about how Horton’s Heroes and Attila helped him was simple, “Attila helped me stop worrying and he made life feel normal again.” Tim continued, “He got me out doing the things again.”

Horton's Heroes provides a wide range of support. Currently, they provide tickets to sporting events such as the Washington Redskins and Capitals games. They also provide dinners as well as movie and concert tickets. They have funded trips to Las Vegas and skydiving trips to Ocean City, Maryland. And now they are taking service personnel wakeboarding and tubing on the Potomac River behind their 2009 Heroes Edition Wakesetter VLX.

Former United States Army Sergeant E5 Javier Torres met Tassi in 2006 at Walter Reed after being injured in Afghanistan a year earlier. Torres described Attila this way; "He's like the Disneyland for vets. He makes our dreams come true!"

Unfortunately, many Marines and Soldiers return from combat severely wounded. Providing these services helps them heal mentally and physically. As Horton’s Heroes obtains more funding and support, Tassi plans to expand the support he provides to include other services such as legal and financial counseling.

Former United States Army Sgt First Class, Jason Burr, summed-up the power of Horton’s Heroes with this statement, "Giving any wounded soldier the opportunity to get outdoors is rehabilitative in and of itself. We get to experience real things again. Even though we’re wounded we're not dead. With the help of organizations like Horton's Heroes and people like Attila, it shows us there's life on the other side of the challenges we face."

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