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Of grace and gratitude: Lone survivor of tragic crash finds purpose in 'paying it forward;' names DAV in estate plans.

On May 4, 1970, Air Force Capt. George Burk, a Vietnam veteran, was one of 10 passengers and four crew members on a twin-engine transport plane traveling from Hamilton Air Force Base in California to Spokane, Wash. The flight never reached its destination.

Within minutes of takeoff, the aircraft crashed. Burk, the sole survivor, was on fire when ranch foreman John Davieou rescued him. Burk suffered severe burns and multiple internal injuries. Of his 18 months in the hospital, more than 90 days were spent in intensive care.

Looking back on how his life changed after the crash, he remembers his introduction to DAV.

"A national service officer visited my hospital room just after reconstructive surgery," said Burk. "He told me about DAV and left his card."

A few years later, Burk--who has become a nationally recognized motivational speaker--joined DAV and began to contribute regularly.

When it came time to consider his estate planning, Burk thought of his family's legacy of military service. Three uncles served in World War II, a cousin served in Korea and a brother-in-law served in Vietnam. His mother--"very much a patriot"--came to mind, too. Then he thought of DAV.

"DAV is just a little special," said Burk. "I have faith and trust in DAV, as I do for other organizations, but I feel DAV was right for me for a gift in my trust."

Burk encourages his fellow veterans to have "the character to think it out and the courage to talk it out." He believes in connecting with veterans groups so they can share their stories and pay it forward themselves.

Burk and his wife will certainly make a difference in the lives of veterans for generations to come, thanks to the legacy gift they have planned for DAV. To learn more about Capt. George Burk and the four books he has authored, visit his website at or watch his Discovery Health Channel segment at

Help America's heroes; leave a legacy gift

We invite you to join the Burks in leaving your own legacy of compassion for your fellow veterans by naming DAV as a beneficiary of your will, trust, retirement plan, financial account or insurance policy. You will be forever remembered for your kindness through the DAV Guardian Society.

Legal name and address:

DAV (Disabled American Veterans), PO Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250; tax ID 31-0263158.

To learn more or to inform us about your legacy gift:

* Call 1-800-216-9802, ext. 1

* Email or

* Return the attached postcard.

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Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2019
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