Toby Keith Helping Nation's Veterans With Pros 4 Vets

Monday, February 7th 2011, 11:00 pm
By: News 9

Kelly Ogle, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahomans are full of American pride -- we love our country and we love our military. That's the driving force behind a new organization aimed at helping our veterans when they need it most, when they come home.

Last year, our crews showed you the incredible work of Pros For Africa. Doctors provided medical care, while NFL stars Tommie Harris, Roy Williams, Mark Clayton and Adrian Peterson helped dig wells to provide much needed clean water.

A team traveled to Uganda with them to document their journey. Now the same people behind Pros For Africa are teaming at home to help veterans once they return from war. It's called Pros 4 Vets, and they're bringing in some big names with the passion for our country and our nation's heroes.

Country music star Toby Keith's love for his father and his country runs deep. It started when he was a child.

"Always had a flag out in our yard and always taught me and my brother and sister to respect the people who wear our uniform," Keith said.

Keith's dad died in a car wreck in 2001, just six months before the nation was attacked.

"Kind of in honor to him, and felt like I was one of those people who needed to do something," Keith said.

And something he did. In the last nine years, Keith has performed 160 USO shows, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now these heroes are betting on you and me.

"These guys don't wear caps. These girls don't wear masks. They wear our country's uniform," Keith said. "That's the guys I'm betting on. That's what I call hero."

When they return home, the young men and women are welcomed with open arms, but the homecoming quickly fades and the battles at home rage on.

"You can't even make your mind connect with what they go through mentally," Keith said.

Now Keith is doing something to bring normalcy to their not so normal lives as co-founder of Pros 4 Vets.

With a network of doctors, lawyers, businesses and professional athletes, Pros 4 Vets provides medical and legal assistance and other long-term support for these wounded warriors.

"It's up to us as the public to create these organizations that care for and tend to the needs of veterans when they come home," Keith said.

And home isn't just Oklahoma. Keith is using his own network to get other celebrities and athletes on board.

"I'm going to call my buddy Trace Adkins, and we're gonna try to call some of the Saints and Hornets players and see if we can get something established in Louisiana, that's an example," Keith said. "I think it's easy to coordinate. I think it makes you feel good to do it. And I think once we get it rolling, that it will be nationwide."