Ronald Reagan’s ‘Made in America’ opens as a surprise birthday gift to a homeless military veteran

The Washington Area Veterans Coalition, a homeless military veteran advocacy group, was fielding dozens of requests for service this weekend. David DeLaHunt, a 71-year-old Air Force veteran, asked for a helmet and a copy of “Made in America,” a documentary about the military.

Linda DeMarco, the coalition’s executive director, got on the phone and started to brainstorm a solution.

“Is there a way the group can grab this sports helmet and get it to him,” she suggested. “We started to brainstorm on how we could get the book and the helmet together, and we found a guy in Maryland who had the gas cans.”

DeLaHunt’s complex left leg had been amputated after he was injured by a roadside bomb while serving in the Vietnam War. He has lived at the Central Homeless Shelter in Vienna for the past year. The organization was unable to get the book and helmet into DeLaHunt’s hands before the movies opened, but this Saturday, DeLaHunt got an unexpected gift: a copy of “Made in America.”

DeLaHunt said he was surprised. “I thought about getting a soccer ball and boots, maybe some gloves and hand warmers, but nothing in the movie deals with how you operate in public facilities.”

He said he was planning to watch the movie with the other vets Saturday night at the DC Center. “That’s why I was in such a rush to grab the book and the helmet,” he said.

The documentary credits DeLaHunt for being one of the veterans to thrive in a Hollywood setting, given that he’s at “one of the most stereotypical social stigmas.”

“David made it out,” said DeMarco. “He’s already racking up his social service credits and his service hours.”

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