Presented By The Rotary Club of Murrieta
In Partnership With The City of Murrieta

MURRIETA ROTARY HONORS 4 HEROES

MURRIETA ROTARY HONORS 4 HEROES
November 8, 2017 FOHadmin

MURRIETA ROTARY HONORS 4 HEROES

The Murrieta Rotary has selected four Heroes for special recognition during the 2017
Field of Honor, which will be staged in Murrieta’s Town Square Park, Nov. 4-11.
These Heroes were nominated by friends and acquaintances for their “service above
self.” They will be honored at the Veteran’s Lunch on Nov. 6, and the Patriots Ball on
Nov. 11. Both events are being held at the Field of Honor.
Being honored this year, are:

ALL FROM THE HEART: Honoring local military families is the overriding mission of
this nonprofit, which started in 2003. Each year it has hosted a Support Our Troops
holiday season event. Some 100 family members who are living with special
circumstances are invited to celebrate with gifts, music, a barbeque and a visit from
a Harley-riding Santa. Wheels for Warriors, another of the group’s projects, gifts
power wheelchairs and scooters to assist any veteran who needs the freedom to live
life more fully. Over 400 power chairs have been presented so far and another eight
will be presented this November. The group’s newest project is called VET (Veteran
Equine Therapy), which assists veterans who suffer from PTSD and have not responded
well to talk therapy.

JUAN DOMINGUEZ: This Marine corporal became famous here five years ago when he
was handed the keys to a smart home, thanks to actor Gary Sinese and the Stephen
Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. But, Juan who lost both legs and his right arm in
Afghanistan, didn’t just settle down in the beautifully modified home with his wife,
Alexis. Since moving in, he has been busy giving back to help others similar to
himself. Juan is an ambassador for the Gary Sinese Foundation, vice president of
WarFighter Made ( a 2015 Hero) and an increasingly in-demand musician, who taught
himself (with the help of YouTube) to play the drums and the piano after giving up on
the guitar. He has performed in Madison Square Garden, Constitution Hall, Walter
Reed Hospital and, most recently, in Nantucket as part of the Holidays for Heroes.

DON “DONNIE” SIMPSON – A lifetime Hemet resident, Simpson was awarded the Silver
Star, the third highest U.S. military honor, for valor this year, 50 years after the brave
act in the Vietnam War for which the medal was awarded. Army rifleman and
radiotelephone operator, Simpson was part of an 18-man reconnaissance team
helicopter-dropped into the coastal area known as Bong Son, where they came under
heavy enemy fire. With bullets whizzing over his head and nipping at his uniform, and
in a prone position, he was able to radio for help and successfully directed an
airstrike on the enemy. Although four men were killed and eight wounded, the
survivors were able to move to safety after the airstrikes. Drafted at age 19 in 1966,
Simpson served many combat missions in Vietnam before being honorably discharged
in 1968. He has continued to serve veterans in the Hemet community as a member of
American Legion Post 53, where he was a member of the Honor Guard and has
participated in more than 500 military services at Riverside National Cemetery.

HOWARD J. TAIT: Retired after 23 years of brave service as a Marine infantryman, Master
Sergeant Tait experienced 11 deployments, four in combat and two unexpected diversions to
Sri Lanka and Japan, for humanitarian assistance during tsunamis. In 2011, while traveling
back home, his group of Marines were diverted and were among the first responders to help
the devastated citizens on Osuna Island after the earthquake and tsunami. He took 65
servicemen onto the island for 10 days of humanitarian assistance. As they were leaving on a
Navy flat-bottomed boat, island residents gathered on the shore stretching a ribbon to the
Marines in a symbol of bonds never broken. A year later, he returned for an 11 month tour in
Afghanistan where his group encountered numerous small arms and Ih Improvised Explosive
Device (IED) attacks. While finishing up his service in the Wounded Warriors program (for
severe PTSD and TBI), Tait has competed in the Department of Defense Warrior Games,
representing the Marine Corps. Sergeant Tait and his wife Rachel have two children,
Savannah 19 and Hunter 13 and live in Winchester. “It has been an honor and privilege serving
with my Marines, and now I look to give back to those who gave to me.”
HOWARD J. TAIT: Retired after 23 years of extremely brave service, as a Marine
infantryman, Master Sergeant Tait experienced 11 deployments, four in combat and two
unexpected diversions to Sri Lanka and Japan, for humanitarian assistance during Tsunamis.

In 2011, while traveling back home, his group of Marines were diverted and were among the
first responders to help the devastated citizens on Osuna Island after the earthquake and
tsunami. He took 65 servicemen onto the island for 10 days of humanitarian assistance. As
they were leaving on a Navy flat-bottomed boat, island residents gathered on the shore
stretching a ribbon to the Marines in a symbol of bonds never broken. A year later, he
returned for an 11 month tour in Afghanistan where his group encountered numerous small
arms and Ih Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks. While finishing up his service in the
Wounded Warriors program (for severe PTSD and TBI), Tait has competed in the Department of
Defense Warrior Games, representing the Marine Corps. Master Sgt. Tait and his wife Rachel
have two children, Savannah 19, and Hunter 13 and live in Winchester. “It has been an honor
and privilege serving with my Marines, and now I look to give back to those who gave to me.”

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