PORTLAND, Ore. – Dennis Cater is a U.S. Army veteran, a Purple Heart recipient and a committed volunteer in his community. During his active service, Cater gave back numerous times in multiple deployments in Afghanistan helping save lives as a member of the Special Operations, 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment).
Upon his return to his home in Wilsonville, and despite injuries suffered from combat, Cater continues to be devoted to his community with a deep desire to give back by working with fellow veterans.
But sometimes, it’s the community who is able to give back to the individual.
Sunday night at halftime of the Portland Thorns FC match against the Western New York Flash, Cater was recognized for his contributions to the community in a special ceremony on the field. But as an added surprise in honor of his contributions, Fix Auto Gresham and GEICO gave Cater and his family a fully restored 2010 Toyota Prius as part of the NABC Recycled Rides program.
It was a simple gesture that had a big reception from both the Cater family and the sold-out Providence Park crowd.
“I can’t even put it into words,” said a clearly surprised and humble Cater moments after receiving the car. “It floors me. I just never ever expected it.”
“I thought I was just coming to honor Sept. 11 and I hold that near and dear to my heart and to raise awareness for veterans and the military. But I never, ever…wow. I don’t know really what to say.”
And it is precisely the fact that he holds such a promise to help his fellow veterans through volunteering in his community that made him such a worthy recipient. For Cater, he sees the help he gives as a special duty.
“It’s our responsibility knowing each other to kind of pick up the slack and help each other out,” he said. “To put our best foot forward to come together as a community as veterans and as a nation. It’s important.”