Bo Derek on the ‘Miracles’ of Giving Back to American Heroes
By Movieguide® Contributor
Actress Bo Derek’s number one passion has been to help the American heroes.
This outreach is important to Derek because her father served as a radio operator during the Korean War. In addition, Derek’s stepfather and her late husband, John Derek, were veterans.
Derek told Fox News Digital, “I remember I ran into the [former] secretary of veterans affairs, Anthony Principi, and he tells me about the rehabilitation events for disabled veterans. These are incredibly moving events. And yet they were having trouble going because some people, perhaps, maybe were uncomfortable — we’re talking about 400 people with all kinds of disabilities.”
“But when I went to my first Snowmass event, I was moved,” she added. “Just seeing 400 disabled veterans and the volunteers who were there… [The volunteers made] sure that they would offer them whatever they needed, whatever they wanted to do in winter sports, no matter their disability. Even if it required adapting some equipment, it didn’t matter, it could be done. That does something to you.”
The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic takes place every year in Snowmass Village, Colorado. The purpose of the event is to encourage disabled veterans to push their limits and discover what they are capable of through different winter sports.
Bo participated in her first event in 2001. From that day on, her life would be forever changed.
“They say ‘miracles on a mountainside,’ but it really is,” Derek stated. “I ended up becoming a chairperson for all the events. It was just so much fun. I did that for seven years. It’s more than just sports, although they’re incredibly fun. You really get to sit down and get to know these heroes on a personal level. It was an honor.”
Since then, Derek has done what she can to help veterans adjust to life after duty.
“I remembered there was a side project going on with the Library of Congress of getting these veterans to tell their stories, their war stories,” Derek remembered. “I remember there was one veteran from World War I. That was incredible. He hadn’t even talked to his family about his experience, but for some reason, there was this atmosphere of being around other veterans that allowed him to be comfortable and share his story. It was very moving to hear his story and the conditions he endured.”
“You didn’t have the medical or communication advances we have today,” she added. “And yet there was that courage. That’s the one message I always try to share whenever I get involved. There’s just so much we don’t do for our heroes.”