Acts of Kindness: Rick Hillis

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A military veteran who medically retired from the U.S. Army after Desert Storm is giving back to other wounded warriors in southern Nevada.

Rick Hillis found a way to look after his fellow servicemen and women and their families with a special event called “One Hero at a Time.”

Blaine Sullivan lost his leg to an IED in Afghanistan.

A graduate of Cimarron High School, Sullivan returned home from the war and was recognized for his service at Hillis’ event in October 2015.

All the money raised from the event goes to Blaine and his family.

“It’s quite a sum, but they’re going to be struggling the rest of their lives,” Hillis said.

Donations gathered from members of the community help support the family’s challenges ahead.

“Who is paying the mortgage while family is by their side? They go through a lot. For us to honor them that day as well, they were there for that soldier when we weren’t,” Hillis said.

Hillis and three others started One Hero at a Time six years ago, understanding from personal experience the many difficulties our wounded warriors face. 

“I went through struggles with the VA. They lost my paperwork. I had a bad attitude for quite a number of years,” he said. “One Hero at a Time, this is the perfect way to bring it all around and make sure these guys don’t have the same wasted years that I did.”

“There is no magic formula finding the recipient – soldier, Marine, airman, sailor – just got to dig under every rock, and take a look, and get something to choose from,” he said.

Bands donate their time, along with other veterans’ organizations and businesses.

“If every town in the country does one of these for one of their heroes, look how many people we can help,” said Chick Smaldino with One Hero at a Time.

8 News NOW is rewarding Rick Hillis with this week’s Acts of Kindness award. If you wish to nominate someone for Acts of Kindness, visit our website or e-mail us.

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