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Purple Heart recipient awarded truck to expand business

‘Sgt. Hutch' appealed to Gary Sinise Foundation

SAN ANTONIO – A wounded veteran has been given the chance to expand her business after receiving a new truck.

"My new truck!" Tara Hutchinson exclaimed when she saw her new truck coming, while she was sitting in her wheelchair in the driveway, her service dog, Pork Chop, at her side.

The blue Ford F-150 XLT was a gift from the Gary Sinise Foundation, which is known for its work on behalf of wounded warriors, first responders, and their families. 

Sinise, an award-winning actor, director and musician, has had many movie and television roles.

On his official website, Sinise said by making his 1994 role in “Forrest Gump” as Lt. Dan Taylor, a wounded Vietnam veteran, a part of his life, “I’ve been able to help the real Lt. Dan’s in the world.”

Hutchinson became one of the latest. She was awarded the Purple Heart after she lost her leg to an improvised explosive device in Iraq nearly a decade ago. She said she was able to regain her motor skills damaged by the severe blood loss from her injury, thanks to her learning how to design and make women’s jewelry.

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Hutchinson said her one-of-a-kind pieces are growing in demand, which is why she needed a new vehicle to take her jewelry show on the road.

She said she “almost dropped the phone” when the Gary Sinise Foundation called her a few days ago to tell her the truck was on its way. It will be adapted to her needs, and with the help of friends, she said, she’ll be able to hook up a trailer to her new truck.

Hutchinson conveyed her thanks to Sinise. “I cannot express my gratitude for this gift enough, and to let you know how much of a difference this is going to make in my life,” she said.


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