HomeEntertainmentTVYellowstone‘Yellowstone’s Cole Hauser speaks on ‘serving’ the children of fallen U.S. soldiers

‘Yellowstone’s Cole Hauser speaks on ‘serving’ the children of fallen U.S. soldiers

by Jon D. B.
Cole Hauser Yellowstone
: Cole Hauser attends Paramount's "Yellowstone" Season 5 New York Premiere at Walter Reade Theater. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/WireImage)

Ahead of this Memorial Day Weekend, Yellowstone’s own Rip Wheeler, Cole Hauser, spoke to CBS Morning about his true passion, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Audiences know and love Hauser as the quintessential tough guy. But just like his Rip Wheeler, the actor also has a heart of gold.

“I’m a big fan of second chances,” he tells CBS Morning in an exclusive interview. “For kids when they lose a family member, it’s a huge loss for them.”

Hauser speaks of his two-decade-long commitment to and passion for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a charitable organization providing educational scholarships to children of fallen service members. It’s a relationship that pre-dates his Yellowstone role by over a decade, and one that’s allowed him to help over 1,100 deserving children receive scholarships after losing a military parent.

‘Maybe it’s just my way of serving’

“Maybe it’s just my way of serving. You know, this country, the soldiers, their families,” Hauser offers.

The Western icon contributes his personal finances to the scholarships, creating a direct thru-line from Yellowstone to the cause. He’s also completed a USO tour in Afghanistan, made private visits to Walter Reed Medical Center, and continues to engage with veterans and their families in any way he can. And it all comes from his family legacy.

His grandfather, Milton Sperling, was a Hollywood producer, screenwriter, and studio owner. But Sperling was also a World War II Marine. Before he died, he gifted his service ring to his grandson, something Hauser cherishes and wears often. Now, the Yellowstone icon pours himself into honoring Sperling’s service.

“I think it’s as good as it gets as a human, like just the human element of Wanting to help. Just to see somebody go through that moment of like grace. It’s like an ‘ah,'” he recalls of a moment he’s seen personally.

Hauser’s unique wit, a charm his Rip Wheeler inherited, goes a long way with soldiers living through the unimaginable, too. While meeting a triple amputee, “I walked in and I thought, ‘God, you look like a rat’s ass,'” Hauser laughs.

“But it got him to smile, you know? And then we would start talking and it was just, you know, it broke the ice.”

Cole Hauser’s legacy goes far beyond ‘Yellowstone’

Through the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, he’s made lifelong connections with soldiers and their families. Some are no longer with us, due to everything from medical complications to suicide. The latter is something Hauser hopes to help prevent if he ever can.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – JANUARY 14: Actor Cole Hauser wears his grandfather’s ring during the second half of a game between the Syracuse Orange and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at JMA Wireless Dome on January 14, 2023 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

His commitment goes much deeper, too. The Yellowstone star is also a member of the organization’s board of directors. He also fosters a close relationship with their president, Clay Hutmacher. Through his work with this leadership, Hauser has expanded their scholarships to also help service member children and families who lose a non-military parent.

Seeing this in action “is like a thousand pounds off their back,” he says.

“It feels like love,” confirms retired Green Beret Lou Howk. His two children are recipients of Special Operations Warrior Foundation scholarships after their mother, his wife, died of an incurable cancer. “And to have an organization and supporters that care about children and their future whom they’ve never met. I mean. It’s love.”

Cole Hauser will return as Rip Wheeler for the second half of Yellowstone Season 5, the show’s final episodes.