The DAR Distinguished Citizen Medal was established to recognize worthy citizens for extraordinary service in the defense, promotion and/or preservation of our American Heritage of Freedom.
Celia Belt embodies the qualities of a true and patriotic American – servicing our wounded warriors as well as civilians. Each and every day she demonstrates compassion, benevolence and empathy along with a caring attitude of service, faith, hope and love for her fellow man and this great country.
In April 1998, burn survivor Celia Belt walked onto the burn unit of Brooke Army Medical Center to volunteer her time with burn survivors and their families.
Before doing so, she underwent three months of interviews and took part in infectious-disease control and burn-unit training classes required of incoming burn-unit medical personnel. As a volunteer, she spent her time visiting with patients and their families and helped facilitate support group meetings on the unit.
It did not take long for her to identify a gap in services for the burn community once they were discharged from the hospital. Through her own experiences as a burn patient, she recognized the exorbitant cost of bandages, dressing and other medical supplies, as well as the expertise necessary for cleaning, changing and redressing burn wounds.
Many times, using her own money, she provided additional bandages, along with her expertise and firsthand experience to encourage burn victims.
Eighteen years ago Celia decided to form a non-profit organization to aid burn victims and founded Moonlight Fund, Inc. of Bandera, Texas.
The purpose of the organization is not only to provide medical necessities for burn victims but also to provide mental health support. This support includes retreats and the use of her personal horses as therapy for burn survivors.
The burn unit at Brooke Army Medical Center has been filled with severely injured soldiers and the Moonlight Fund embraced these wounded warriors as part of their mission to support burn survivors.
Some burn survivors supported by the organization are well known, such as Shiloh Harris who received a modified home on the television show, “Extreme Home Makeover” and J. R. Martinez who received the DAR Founders Medal at Continental Congress for overcoming tragic burns and encouraging other severely injured veterans.
Ms. Belt and the Moonlight Funds, Inc. have received many awards, including recognition by the Newman’s Own Corporation and the Fisher House Foundation as the top non-profit organization in the United States. Recognition from Shriners Hospital for Children and a Certificate of Appreciation from Warrior & Family Assistance Center of BAMC, to name but a few.