Joining the armed forces in any country is often a difficult decision.
Although there are many people who join out of feelings of civic obligation or honor, many others do it for a chance at a better life or for college to be paid for. Though the situation varies from country to country, what’s true beyond a doubt is that those who see combat in war zones never come back the same—whether the change is mental, emotional or physical, it’s always there. When veterans come back from war, it’s often difficult to re-assimilate into civilian life.
As such, they often need some extra help and inspiration from the outside.
One organization that offers this kind of aid is Help for Heroes, a British charity founded in 2007.
The group started to provide better facilities and support programs for British veterans who had been wounded or injured in service. Through various different means, Help for Heroes strives to raise money and awareness to help veterans get the help they need. Although much of this work involves technical, behind-the-scenes advocacy, some of it includes videos like the one below.
And once you watch it, you’re sure to have tears in your eyes.
The video in question is a conversation between a little girl and an injured veteran.
The man is Simon Brown, a 38-year-old veteran from Leeds in West Yorkshire, England who was a soldier in the army for 13 years. Opposite him is Temperance Pattinson, who also goes by the nickname Tempy and is only five-and-a-half years old. Brown tells Tempy that while he was in Iraq in 2006, he was shot through the face by a sniper and survived. When he came home, the doctors told him that he’d permanently lost his vision and would have to go through the rest of his life as a blind man.
Because of stories like Brown’s, Tempy had her own incredible story to tell.
It all begins when Tempy tells Brown that she recently swam 100 meters and did a triathlon.
For anyone who doesn’t know, a triathlon is no simple feat and involves three different phases—biking, swimming and running. Though the distances can vary by race, it’s still quite a challenge for someone so young! The triathlon was done explicitly for the purpose of raising money for veterans. After hearing her story, Brown asks her why she felt the need to do such a thing.
After a moment, Tempy gives an inspiring answer.
As it turns out, Tempy’s answer shows that she’s wise beyond her years.
After thinking for a moment, she lays out her thought process:
“Even though I didn’t know any of the soldiers, I just thought that they did something for us. I thought I could give a present back to them by raising them money. I’m quite proud of the soldiers.”
Once he heard it, Brown had to return the feeling in kind by telling Tempy how much he admired her:
“Well, I’ll tell you now that the soldiers are also quite proud of you. Because I’m 38 and a half and I can’t do a triathlon.”
As the two continued to talk, the conversation only got more and more adorable.
Tempy told Brown that the bike-riding portion of the triathlon was quite a challenge for her as well. Because she was so young, she hadn’t quite mastered riding her bike yet—and still used the training wheels to help her keep her balance. Even though it scared her to do it, she told Brown that she did it all the same because it was a worthy challenge for her. Brown asks her if she likes to challenge herself and Tempy replies that she does:
“Yeah, ‘cause the soldiers challenge themselves!”
At the end of it all, Brown explains once again how proud and grateful he is for Tempy’s efforts.
Brown tells her that after coming home and trying to rebuild his life, it was ultimately efforts like Tempy’s that allowed support programs and aid for veterans like him. “That’s why people like you are our heroes,” Brown tells her. “And people like you are mine!” she says in return.
At the end of it all, the two share a fist-bump!
The video has gone viral, and after watching it, it’s not hard to see why.
When presented the chance, nobody would choose to go through what Brown did. Still, many veterans do come home to situations like Brown’s. Although it can be hard to get the money and the emotional support necessary to make a full recovery, organizations like Help for Heroes can make a big difference in people’s lives—and it’s all made possible through people like Tempy!
Congratulations to Brown and Tempy on meeting and sharing some time together!
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