NBC’s ‘TODAY’ Show Surprises Dartmouth Veteran
DARTMOUTH — A Dartmouth veteran has received the surprise of a lifetime after what she thought was just a standard interview.
Tracy Hillman, a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Army and the Air Force, was selected by NBC's TODAY to be interviewed for an upcoming feature series ahead of Veterans Day.
During her military career, Tracy was deployed on two tours of duty. During her last deployment, Tracy learned that, through unfortunate circumstances, her cousin's two sons were in need of a home.
Tracy's sister, Crystal Benoit, says without thinking twice, Tracy began the process to adopt Jose and Isaiah.
"When she gets something set in her mind, you can't change it," said Benoit. "She went out and got a place and had the kids over. They got along well together and they decided to make it their forever home and she's been doing it for about five years now."
In addition to taking care of her two children, Tracy also finds time to volunteer throughout the SouthCoast, lending her efforts to a number of charitable organizations. She is also a jiu-jitsu instructor and organizes get-togethers with fellow area veterans, as well. Somehow, Tracy finds time to take college courses as she studies to become a pharmacy technician.
After learning of her story, NBC coordinated with Tracy's family, friends, and neighbors to interview her at her Dartmouth home.
When the interview on Tuesday was concluded, Tracy was escorted outside by the NBC staff. Once outside, Tracy was overwhelmed as the Dartmouth High School marching band began to play and parade around a new 2018 Honda Pilot. The car was a gift to Tracy from Progressive Insurance, to show appreciation for her military service and her selflessness in her everyday life. It is part of a program in which Progressive bestows cars upon deserving veterans.
Tracy was completely surprised.
"This is pretty amazing. It's great," said Tracy. "We definitely needed a car, so this is going to help us out in life. It's a very nice car!"
In addition to the vehicle, Progressive Insurance is providing Tracy with six months of complimentary insurance coverage in addition to covering the cost of taxes for the new car.
The complete interview with Tracy, conducted by Jenna Bush, will air on NBC's TODAY on November 8.