Thursday, 22 April 2021 13:07

Cooper signs bill recognizing April 24 as Wounded Heroes Day in N.C.

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Cooper signs bill recognizing April 24 as Wounded Heroes Day in N.C. RO file photo

RALEIGH — Military veterans wounded in battle will be honored each year with their own holiday in North Carolina.


Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday signed House Bill 138 into law recognizing April 24 as Wounded Heroes Day.

The bill passed both the N.C. House of Representatives and Senate with no opposition.

According to a press release from Rep. David Willis, R-Union, the date was chosen in honor of Sgt. Michael Verardo, who received life-changing injuries while serving in Afghanistan on April 24, 2010.

From the press release:

"While on foot patrol as an Infantryman with the 82nd Airborne, Bravo Company (2-508th) Parachute Infantry Regiment, in Afghanistan, Sgt. Verardo was wounded by an improvised explosive device, causing him to lose his left leg and much of his left arm, withstand severe burns, and suffer a traumatic brain injury and other injuries that required a field blood transfusion.

"Sgt. Verardo bravely endured years of physical, occupational, speech, and visual therapies and, on April 24, 2019, his Ninth Alive Day, underwent his 120th surgery; and because of his courage and grit, Sgt. Verardo has overcome unimaginable challenges and obstacles and is now able to enjoy adaptive athletics, such as competitive pistol shooting, and is an active participant in his church and community."

“I was proud to file this bill in recognition of heroes like Sgt. Verardo who were severely wounded serving our country,” Willis said in a statement. “These brave men and women have sacrificed so much in service to our country. With April 24th now being recognized as ‘Wounded Heroes Day’ in North Carolina, we can pause and honor these American heroes. 

“I want to thank the Governor for signing the bill and express my deepest appreciation to Sgt. Verardo and his wife, Sarah, for their service and sacrifice,” Willis continued. “They are a model of what our country and state represent.”

Verardo, his wife and other wounded veterans were at the signing ceremony held at Bicentennial Plaza outside the legislative building.

"North Carolina is the most military friendly state in the country and we must continue to work to make sure we support our veterans and wounded warriors," Cooper said in a statement.