PDA

View Full Version : Homes for Our Troops begins house in Alabama



thedrifter
01-27-08, 08:29 AM
Homes for Our Troops begins house in Alabama
By Garry Mitchell - The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Jan 26, 2008 14:16:36 EST

IRVINGTON, Ala. — Two Black Hawk helicopters hovered and tipped rotors Friday in honor of Marine Sgt. Greg Edwards at a ceremony to start building a specially adapted home for the Edwards family.

Edwards, 25, on his third tour in Iraq, lost both legs and shattered his left hand in an explosion while on patrol in Ramadi on Oct. 21.

The Taunton, Mass.-based Homes for Our Troops led a successful campaign to raise funds to build the home for Edwards, who is married with two young daughters. The home will be on five acres next to a peanut field in south Mobile County. His parents, Cheryl and David Edwards, live nearby.

“I’m excited and appreciative of all that’s been done for me,” said Edwards.

Edwards, who enlisted at age 17, moved back to Irvington last month, hoping eventually to enroll at the University of South Alabama once the family is resettled. He’s unsure of his job goals, but said he enjoys working outdoors.

The family had been living near Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., during his recovery. He has endured 37 surgeries and will continue outpatient care at nearby Veterans Affairs hospitals.

At Friday’s ceremony, Edwards moved about on his artificial legs, standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow Marines and taking a few breaks in a wheelchair.

His mother said Edwards hasn’t let his injuries get him down.

“He would go back [to Iraq] if he could,” she said.

With a big grin, Edwards said it’s time to move out of his parents’ home because they are spoiling his children.

General contractor Rod Cook said the home could be built in six months, weather permitting. His company, RCCI Inc., will build the house with a design specially adapted for use by a person with severe disabilities.

“We’re going after people to donate. Everybody I’ve talked with wants to get on board,” Cook said of the mostly volunteer effort to build the home.

“We should look out for those who look out for us,” said the Rev. Floyd Nelson, who pastors a church and lives near the home site.

Homes for Our Troops spokesman Kirt Rebello said the organization has completed 22 home projects in nine states and has 20 more in various stages of construction in 14 states.

“It’s really a reflection of a grateful nation. We hope to do this as much as possible,” Rebello said.

Local donations will provide 50 percent to 60 percent of the construction cost on the Edwards home, and Homes for Our Troops, which has corporate sponsors and individual donors, helps supply the remainder.

It’s the first home construction by the group in Alabama, but may not be the last. Rebello said the organization has opened an office in Mobile, headed by former Marine Staff Sgt. Larry Gill, who also was critically injured in Iraq.

Gill said fulfilling Edwards’ dream of owning a home resulted from “a lot of work by a lot of folks.”

When injured in the explosion in Ramadi, Edwards was serving a third tour in Iraq. Edwards participated in the initial invasion and saw the statue of Saddam Hussein fall. On his second tour, he was nearly electrocuted and spent time recovering at Walter Reed.

Veterans of other wars attended Friday’s ceremony.

“I’m here to support him,” said 78-year-old Bill Sumrall, a Korean war veteran.

Ellie