Screening of film based on N. Texas ex-SEAL raises money, awaren - Dallas News |

Screening of film based on N. Texas ex-SEAL raises money, awareness

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PLANO, Texas -

A former North Texas Navy SEAL's life plays out on the big screen in the new movie Lone Survivor, telling the incredible story of how Marcus Luttrell survived after his SEAL team was ambushed in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Celebrities and soldiers sat side-by-side Tuesday night in Plano for a special screening of the movie, all for a good cause. They helped raise money for an organization whose purpose is to say thank you and provide for U.S. soldiers who come home from war and need help.

Marcus Luttrell himself was at the event, and while he may have been the lone survivor from his SEAL team, the non-profit Boot Campaign wants to remind the public there are thousands more veterans who need support long after they return home from war.

Teamwork, determination and commitment are the reasons Luttrell says he survived a month in an Afghan village alone.

While far from his plight, his message resonated with five Texas women.

"Just this overwhelming theme of never quit, never give up, no matter what the challenge that you face," said Meghan McDermott with the Boot Campaign.

In 2009, the Boot Campaign was born from Luttrell's book, Lone Survivor.

The non-profit began raising money to provide jobs, emergency financial assistance, family support and housing for veterans.

In photos, celebrities like the Rock, Troy Aikman, Nolan Ryan and the Duck Commanders laced up combat boots in support of the organization, and the pictures went viral.

"You think wearing a pair of boots, it starts a conversation, but it can also put someone in a mortgage-free home and change their life forever," said McDermott.

Similar to Luttrell, Army specialist Jeremy Smith sustained life-threatening injuries in Afghanistan after the vehicle he was driving hit an improvised explosive device. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, broke many bones in his legs and still copes with severe posttraumatic stress disorder.

But in July 2012, the Boot Campaign and Southwest Airlines surprised Smith and his then-fiancée with keys to a paid-off house in north Fort Worth.

"We were in disbelief until we actually saw the house and moved in," said Smith.

The Boot Campaign has provided 20 vets and their families with free homes, and Tuesday night's private screening was a fundraiser to keep their mission alive.

"It really means a lot to me to know there are people that still care about us out there," said Smith.

Lone Survivor opened in limited release on Christmas Day and opens nationwide on Friday.

All the proceeds from Tuesday night's event go back to helping Texas veterans and their families.

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