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Home Presentation to Captain Daniel Moran

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Cypress, TX, Monday, August 31, 2009

     Thank you, for some reason I have to move the microphone down. Thank you, David for that introduction. I’ll just say as an aside when I first came to Texas A&M, I made a couple of very controversial decisions that got me in hot water with some of the members of the legislature. And David Dewhurst stood behind me and I’ve never forgotten that, David, and I appreciate it. And Todd Tiahrt, I’m really happy to see you here, this is one of those small world moments. Representative Tiahrt is the representative from the district in Wichita where my entire family lives; they are well taken care of. It is a great pleasure to be back in Texas, where I can start with an appropriate greeting – Howdy!
     I, too, want to welcome all the distinguished guests, public officials, family and friends, and thank all of you for taking time to celebrate this moment.
     First, a special thanks to Meredith Iler, the National Chairman of Helping a Hero, and all of her staff and your fellow board members and others for your tireless work on behalf of Dan and all our wounded heroes. They have given homes to 15 veterans so far and plan to provide many more in the near future. I’d also like to recognize the generosity of:
     • The Bridgeland community,
     • Perry Homes,
     • The Strake Foundation,
     • The King family, and
     • The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund for making today possible.

     Finally, as an Eagle Scout and a former president of the National Eagle Scout Association, I am especially proud that this home was built in the name of the Boy Scouts to honor Dan as a Life Scout. It represents a new beginning and a down payment on a bright future for Dan and his wife, and their soon-to-be three children.
     I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dan four times. The first was when I handed him his diploma from Texas A&M. The second was during his recovery from injuries suffered in Iraq. During our time together at Brooke Army Medical Center, he asked me to personalize a graduation-day photo of the two of us. I was honored but, after meeting Dan, I came away thinking I should be the one seeking the autograph. The third was when first President Bush and I awarded Dan the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor for his heroic actions in Ramadi. That encounter was all the more special because we did it at halftime at a Texas A&M home football game in front of 90,000 wildly cheering fans, but this time they were 90,000 wildly cheering fans of Dan Moran, and it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Now, Dan, in a few minutes we’ll have the pleasure of giving you the keys to your new home. I tried to convince the university to build the house on the 50-yard line at Kyle Field, but Mike Sherman said it was no go.
     As all of you know from what has been said and written, Dan is a real hero and a true patriot. He is a loving father and a dedicated husband. His undaunted courage under fire on the battlefield and in recovery at home is an inspiration to us all. We are as humbled by his sacrifice and commitment and perseverance as he is humble about his possessing these traits in great measure. I’m also impressed by his intention to work with and give back to the community that has embraced him. And I look forward to hearing about all of your future successes, Dan.
     Again, thank you all for being here. Dan, I wish you and your family the very best now and in the future. Congratulations on your new home.

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