Face of Defense: Wounded Warrior Helps Fellow Veterans

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2011 — Two years ago, retired Marine Corps Capt. Dan Moran stood before then-Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and hun­dreds of oth­er well-wish­ers as he accept­ed the keys to a new sub­ur­ban Hous­ton home pre­sent­ed by the a non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion, Help­ing a Hero.

Moran’s dress uni­form failed to con­ceal the extent of his com­bat wounds dur­ing the Aug. 31, 2009, cer­e­mo­ny in the liv­ing room of his new, 3,300-square-foot home. An ambush that hit his pla­toon dur­ing his sec­ond deploy­ment to Rama­di, Iraq, left Moran with third-degree burns over 50 per­cent of his body, a com­pre­hen­sion frac­ture in his T-8 ver­te­brae, her­ni­at­ed discs, a mild trau­mat­ic injury and an inhala­tion injury. He endured 30 surg­eries and more than two-and-a-half years of treat­ment at Brooke Army Med­ical Cen­ter in San Anto­nio.

Moran’s house was built to accom­mo­date his needs with tint­ed win­dows, a high-effi­cien­cy air con­di­tion­er and heat­ing sys­tem, and oth­er enhanced tem­per­a­ture-con­trol mea­sures because he can no longer con­trol his body tem­per­a­ture. The lot was select­ed to allow the least amount of direct sun­light into the house, which includes an extend­ed cov­ered porch so he can spend time out­side while avoid­ing direct sun expo­sure.

Despite all Moran had been through and con­tin­ues to live with, all that he thought about dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mo­ny was the mag­ni­tude of the gift he was accept­ing and ques­tions about how he could ever repay that gen­eros­i­ty.

“What do I say to peo­ple who have giv­en me so much?” he asked atten­dees, then made them a pledge.

“You made an invest­ment in me and oth­er wound­ed war­riors, and I promise you, you will get a return on your invest­ment in me,” he told them. “This is how I am going to pay you back: by how I live my life and the impact I will have.”

Moran has wast­ed no time liv­ing up to that promise, com­mit­ting him­self to help­ing wound­ed war­riors and vet­er­ans live mean­ing­ful, pro­duc­tive lives.

He launched his own com­pa­ny, Moran Enter­pris­es Inc., to help them find reward­ing career oppor­tu­ni­ties. He became a leader in many of the orga­ni­za­tions that helped him dur­ing his tran­si­tion back to civil­ian life. He’s a board mem­ber for Hope for the War­riors, a spokesman for Help­ing a Hero, and a mem­ber of Marine 4 Life and the Marine Corps Asso­ci­a­tion.

Most recent­ly, Texas Gov. Rick Per­ry appoint­ed Moran as one of five state com­mis­sion­ers on the Texas Vet­er­ans Com­mis­sion. The com­mis­sion­ers pro­vide the strate­gic vision and pol­i­cy for the body that informs vet­er­ans of their rights and helps ensure they receive the ben­e­fits they have earned.

“I glad­ly accept­ed, and I see it as a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to be able to con­tin­ue serv­ing vet­er­ans, to con­tin­ue serv­ing my coun­try­men and serv­ing my coun­try,” Moran said.

Moran said he takes plea­sure giv­ing back to mil­i­tary mem­bers and vet­er­ans who have served and sac­ri­ficed around the world. “I am just thank­ful that I am still alive and still breath­ing and I have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to impact peo­ple the way that I have had peo­ple impact my life,” he said.

Despite all that an ene­my ambush took away from him on that fate­ful day in Iraq, he said he takes con­so­la­tion know­ing that he is “still in the fight” with his com­rades in arms and oth­er vet­er­ans.

“What I per­son­al­ly get out of it, at the end of the day, is know­ing that I am still serv­ing a pur­pose greater than myself,” Moran said. It’s the same feel­ing he said he felt every day when he wore the uni­form, empha­siz­ing that “no rank, no medal, no amount of finan­cial worth could ever take the place of that feel­ing.”

“I’m just thank­ful that I have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do this,” he said. “To be able to help do for some­one else who tru­ly deserves it is what Amer­i­ca is all about. I real­ly, real­ly believe that, and I see it on a dai­ly basis.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)