Showing posts with label Homes For Our Troops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homes For Our Troops. Show all posts

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Wynonna Judd welcomed paralyzed veteran to new home

Paralyzed veteran gets free home in Murfreesboro

by: Stassy Olmos
Posted: Sep 22, 2019

“Five years ago, get a call two in the morning that he was in an accident all the way up in St. Louis,” Camacho’s friend Liam Cronin said in the ceremony Saturday, “Drive up the next day and spend the next day, and spend the next week sleeping on a hospital cot beside him.”
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s the simple things many of us take for granted, like getting in and out of bed or taking a shower all by ourselves, that paralyzed Army Sergeant Bryan Camacho hasn’t been able to do in years. ‘But, thanks to the nonprofit Homes for Our Troops, the solider now has a brand new home in Murfreesboro, with special amenities to help.

The Murfreesboro community welcomed their new neighbor on Saturday morning.
This homecoming much more encouraging than the last one 12 years ago when Sgt. Camacho returned from Iraq.

Camacho was first injured in 2007 as an Infantryman deployed with the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. He was paralyzed from the waist down when his vehicle ran over an IED.
Slowly recovering in the U.S., Camacho was in another accident in 2014. His adapted truck spun out on ice and rolled, paralyzing him from the neck down.
read it here

Sunday, September 8, 2019

150 volunteers showed love to combat wounded veteran

Volunteers come out in force to work on disabled veteran's home

Village News
August 30, 2019
“They transported me to Landstuhl in Germany, where they actually called my mom and told her to fly out to Germany because they didn’t think I was going to make it,” Paulks said in a video from Homes for Our Troops. “They were hoping that they could get there to say goodbye.”

An unusually warm Saturday morning couldn’t stop more than 150 volunteers from showing up to work on the future home of a disabled U.S. Army veteran relocating to Fallbrook with the help of Homes for Our Troops.

The event is the second for the home build for Spc. Joseph Paulks, leading up to the key presentation ceremony, Saturday, Sept. 7.

The landscaping event was organized by Homes for Our Troops with the help of general contractor Youngren Construction.

“We as a company and also as a family are so appreciative to be a part of giving back to our veterans who have given so much,” Jennifer Youngren said. “Joey’s home will be the 23rd we’ve completed for Homes for Our Troops. We get to know each veteran throughout the build process but the best part for us is seeing them through the years afterward. It’s amazing to witness how each family has thrived because of the freedom this specially adapted home provides.”

Paulks was serving with the 546th Military Police Company as the lead driver of a Quick Reaction Force in southern Afghanistan in 2007, and while on a rescue mission, his convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device, causing the vehicle to flip over.

Though he was ejected from the vehicle, he was engulfed in flames. His unit quickly put the fire out with fire extinguishers as Paulks sustained severe burns. He was moved to the nearest U.S. facilities in Afghanistan, where doctors put him into a medically induced coma.
read it here

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Someone robbed from future home of amputee veteran

Thieves steal materials from disabled veteran's future home

KIRO 7 News 
By: Shelby Miller 
Nov 28, 2018 

“I lost both of my limbs, obviously. Both of my ear drums blew out, my left eardrum was 100 percent, my right eardrum was 25 percent. The blast threw me back,” he said. “It gave me a traumatic brain injury because I hit my head so hard and it also gave me two bulging discs in my lower spine,” said Sawyer. Since then, the retired army veteran has overcome the unthinkable. Now, he has to deal with even more. 

Thieves in Maytown, Thurston County, stole more than $5,000 worth of building materials from the construction site of a disabled veteran’s future home. 

“When you feel like you’re not really worthy of a home in the first place and then you come out here and you find somebody’s broken into a box and stolen a bunch of materials, you know, from your project that have been donated for free - that just makes me feel even worse,” said Sgt. Jereme Sawyer.
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said the theft happened at 4022 150th Ave. SW.

Those who’d like to help can donate to Homes For Our Troops. Anyone with information is asked to call the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office at 360-704-2740. read more here

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Amputee Afghanistan Veteran No Longer Disabled According to Social Security?

For disabled vet, battle rages on as feds deny disability payments

Rapid City Journal
Tom Griffith Journal staff
7 min ago
“Somehow I was deemed no longer disabled by Social Security, and it’s been an absolute hellish nightmare. I wish I wasn’t disabled and that my leg grew back, and that my arm functioned, and that my gonads hadn’t been blown off and I no longer needed testosterone shots, and I could hear, and I didn’t have PTSD, and that I didn’t have a traumatic brain injury." 
Wayne Swier
Hannah Hunsinger Journal Staff
For 31-year-old Wayne Swier, a U.S. Army combat veteran who suffered devastating injuries from an improvised explosive device seven years ago in Afghanistan, this summer should have been a season of solace and celebration.

But fate and a federal agency seemed to have conspired to turn it into a nightmare.

Swier is set to marry his sweetheart in a week, and the couple plans to move into a new home near Johnson Siding built by the nonprofit Homes for Our Troops later in August.

By any account, it should be a summer of love for the Stephens High School graduate who spent the better part of two tours with the 101st Airborne’s “Band of Brothers” unit fighting the Taliban in the remote mountainous regions of Afghanistan.

Instead, in May the Social Security Administration deemed him no longer disabled and cut off his monthly disability checks, in a manner as harsh as the way that IED blew off his leg in a small Afghan village in November 2010.
read more here

Friday, January 29, 2016

Top Charities Do More For Veterans With Less Awareness For Themselves

Just to focus on something positive for a change, Top charities give larger portion to services than Wounded Warrior Project" on Stars and Stripes covered WWP but also covered what others do, so in a way, a valuable report to know next time you want to write a check.
“The donors’ money, they want it to go to the mission of Homes for Our Troops. So, if they give us $10, they want to know most of it is going to build that home,” said retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, chairman of the board for the charity, which builds specially equipped homes for veterans across the United States.
David Coker, president of the Fisher House Foundation, said his charity largely operates by word of mouth without marketing. It spent about 2 percent of its money on fundraising in 2014.
“We think if we just focus on meeting the needs in our lane that good things are going to happen,” he said.
Meanwhile, 91 percent of Fisher House expenses went directly into free lodging for military families so they can be close to a loved one during an illness or medical treatment. The group operates 67 locations and served about 25,000 families in 2014.
So pretty much, money has been donated to raise awareness about WWP while others do more work with less and don't advertise for themselves.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Double Amputee Afghanistan Veteran Reflects of "Good Fortune"

Next stop for wounded JBLM veteran: A new home built just for him
The News Tribune
Adam Ashton
January 9, 2016
“How do I express my gratitude? They welcomed me with open arms. Eatonville, I have this feeling that this is going to be the community where I live the rest of my life.” Sam Shockley
Double amputee Afghanistan veteran Sam Shockley wheels himself past the Patriot Guard to a Homes for our Troops groundbreaking and welcoming event Saturday in Eatonville to celebrate a new custom home that will be built for him and his wife, Emely. Dean J. Koepfler
Samuel Shockley can’t believe his good fortune.

He’s grateful for friends who have lifted him on their backs in the woods so he could hunt and fish like he used to do.

The woman he met on a wild night at a Tacoma piano bar stuck with him through two Army combat deployments and two years of recovery at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

And fast-acting teammates from Joint Base Lewis-McChord got him off the battlefield in Afghanistan almost instantly when a mine blasted away both of his legs, allowing him to live another day.

“Without those guys, without what they did, I wouldn’t be able to be here today,” he said.
read more here

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Blind Iraq War Veteran Needs Out of Trailer Home

Iraq War veteran and 970 WDAY host Eric Marts selected to receive home, but has trouble finding a spot to build it
By Kevin Wallevand
Nov 27, 2015
"I want to be close to Moorhead. My family is here and my whole support system is here and the VA is here which I have to frequent a lot," Marts said.
Moorhead (WDAY TV) - A Moorhead veteran who lost his sight after an IED blast while serving in Iraq is close to getting a special home to meet his needs thanks to a non-profit that helps vets. Homes For Our Troops selected Eric Marts as its latest recipient for a home, but because homes and land are so hard to come by in the Fargo-Moorhead area, the plan to move ahead has been on hold for months.

We followed Eric Marts to Washington DC recently during our Honor Flight special. The 970 WDAY radio host spends every weekend promoting veteran causes, but he rarely talks about his needs.

"A trailer house is all I have right now," Marts said.

His home now is anything but handy for a blind person.

"Not wide enough for Deacon and I to get through, too compacted and the kitchen is so small. I have to have everything laid out," Marts said.

The national charity Homes For Our Troops has built 200 homes nationwide for paralyzed, injured or blind soldiers like Eric.
read more here

Monday, June 22, 2015

This Old House Home To Disabled Iraq Veteran and Family

Veteran’s new home stars on ‘This Old House’
Boston Globe
By Cristela Guerra
JUNE 23, 2015
‘The thing about Matt, and one of the things I fell in love with, is he doesn’t make his disability the focus. You forget he’s injured.’ --CAT DEWITT, speaking of her husband, Iraq war veteran Matt DeWitt

Local nonprofit Homes for Our Troops builds spaces for injured veterans, one at a time


The DeWitts outside their Hopkinton, N.H., home.

The foundation was set. One by one, sturdy wooden walls were raised to form wide hallways. Nails were hammered into place. Triangular trusses flew overhead, creating supports for a roof.

But what made this structure special were the extras: over 40 major adaptations including keyless entry, sliding windows, accessible storage, touchless faucets, and raised garden beds. What made this structure significant were touches like a digital wall panel for setting water temperature, allowing a father with no forearms to give his sons a bath. It’s all Army Staff Sergeant Matthew DeWitt wanted: to bathe his children without scalding them in the tub.

The house in Hopkinton, N.H., is the work of a local nonprofit organization called Homes for Our Troops, which has built 190 specially adapted homes for veterans across the United States. DeWitt, 38, a veteran of the Iraq war, and his family moved into theirs last November. Last month, the PBS series “This Old House” featured DeWitt in a special three-part veterans episode.

DeWitt came home from Iraq in 2003. While recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Medical Center, he was offered a mortgage-free house by Homes for Our Troops, then a newly formed organization, based in Taunton. He said no.

He had faced down death on a dirt road in Khalidiyah as a cavalry scout: “the eyes and ears of the commander,” he said on the show. He remembered the explosion caused by a rocket-propelled grenade, and being thrown back on top of a turret. The nerve pain, the tangy metallic taste of blood inside his mouth. He remembered hearing doctors talk about “amputating them” at the field hospital outside Baghdad. He remembered going ballistic on the table before he was sedated. He remembered looking down a day later and his body shutting down completely.
read more here

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Paralyzed" Veteran Walks Again After Getting Free Home?

Homes for Our Troops questions veteran's paralysis after video 
Dillon Collier
May 20, 2015

Weeks after the couple moved into a home in rural Hays County, videos and pictures surfaced showing Justin walking on the property
DRIPPING SPRINGS -- A national non-profit that built a specially-adapted house in Dripping Springs for a wounded Army veteran is now 'weighing its options', after contrasting stories have emerged regarding the severity of the soldier's injuries.

Army Specialist Justin Perez-Gorda suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Afghanistan in January 2011.

For years, he and his wife claimed publicly he was paralyzed from the belly button down.

"He has permanent loss of use of both lower extremities. He's paralyzed from the belly button down," Josephine Perez-Gorda said during a taped video segment later used by Homes for Our Troops for fundraising efforts.
read more here

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Windsor Marine Veteran Got Keys to New Future

Windsor welcomes home veteran injured in combat
The Tribune
Kelly Ragan
January 31, 2015

Joshua Polson The Greeley Tribune

Rachel Hallett wipes a few tears off of Jason Hallett's
face during the presentation of their new home in Windsor.
Hundreds came in support of the couple.

An American flag hung over a residential street packed tight with cars. Not even the slightest breeze ruffled the red, white and blue Saturday morning.

Several hundred people crowded onto the lawn of a new home on the street. They were there to watch a wounded Windsor Marine veteran get the keys to his specially built new home.

Homes for Our Troops, a privately funded nonprofit that serves severely injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, held the ceremony to present Marine Cpl. Jason Hallett with the keys to a mortgage free-home nestled on a cul-de-sac in Windsor.
“We want the community to embrace veterans,” said Bill Ivey, the executive director of Homes for Our Troops. “That’s why we do these events. It’s a great way to get veterans integrated into the community.”

The event drew neighbors, supporters from all across Colorado and veterans. State Sen. Viki Marble, R-Fort Collins, and Windsor Mayor John Vazquez also delivered speeches.
read more here

Monday, December 22, 2014

Amputee Afghanistan Veteran Gets New Home for Christimas

Homes For Our Troops Presents Wounded Veteran With New Home
10 News Ohio
By Jeff Valin
Saturday December 20, 2014

MARYSVILLE, Ohio - United States Army veteran Jason Gibson will be home for Christmas.

Not just any home, but a brand-new, mortgage-free home designed to accommodate his needs. The retired staff sergeant lost both his legs and his left index finger to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2012.

"We stopped for something and I knelt down right on top of one," Gibson told 10TV Saturday, moments after receiving the keys to the house specially built for him in Marysville. He'll move in with his wife, Kara, and newborn daughter, Quinn, right away, from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where standard issue-style housing has proved a challenge and a worry.

"I don't want to be alone in the house with my daughter because I'm too worried about either falling or hitting the wall or something, if I'm holding her," he explained about his Wright-Patterson environs.

The family's new home is a result of many donations of labor and material, coordinated by "Homes For Our Troops," a charity dedicated to providing homes customized to ease the lives of wounded veterans.

As Gibson explains, the halls and doorways of his new home are wider than those in a typical home, allowing easier mobility for him and his wheelchair. But that's not all.
read more here

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Orlando Groups Team Up to Honor Heroes

Homes for Our Troops Semper Fidelis of America and the Orlando Nam Knights joined forces to raise funds for Afghanistan veteran Sgt. Anthony McDaniel combat wounded amputee and the next chapter of his life.
Winter Park High School JR ROTC
Le Cordon Bleu College Orlando
MOH Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris and His wife of 53 years!
MOH Melvin Morris and Ret. Col David Smith
Paul "Russ" Marek, Army, Staff Sergeant Melbourne, FL
Here is the video from this fabulous event to honor heroes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love story of Nick and Jamie Orchowski

 November 18, 2012

Quadriplegic Cpl. Nick Orchowski welcomed home to new home

Injured soldier honored with new, specially-adapted home
by Tammy Vigil
November 17, 2012

PARKER, Colo. – Retired Army Cpl. Nick Orchowski protected our freedom, only to come home from Iraq eight years ago to a prison of his own body. He is a quadriplegic, but has battled back to regain function in his legs.

On Saturday, the national non-profit Home for Our Troops gave him and his family the gift of independence, and the chance to start a new life in a brand new, specially-adapted home in Parker.

Orchowski, 28, his wife, Jamie, 30, and their two kids walked up to their new house in the Elkhorn Ranch subdivision with a welcome wagon like no other. Their new community has showered them with appreciation for Orchowski’s service that left him severely injured.

Orchowski was thrown from a vehicle that was hit during an insurgent’s attack in Baghdad in May 2004.

He broke his cervical spine from C1 to C6, and shattered his elbow in 36 pieces. He said he has two titanium implants holding it all together. A tendon in his right leg was also ripped away during the attack.

“We live in the land of the free because we have the brave to support that,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Schofield with the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base.

Homes for our Troops raised $200,000 in donations from builders, suppliers, area businesses, and schools to build the house for the Orchowskis. The home is worth nearly $400,000.
Army Corporal Nick Orchowski was on his first deployment when he was left a quadriplegic after being thrown from the gunner's hatch of a vehicle that was hit during an insurgents' attack, in Baghdad, Iraq in May 2004. Married only four days before deploying to Iraq, CPL Orchowski was the main gunner of the lead vehicle in a convoy, when they came under attack while on the main supply route leading into Baghdad. An insurgent's vehicle ambushed the convoy, slamming into CPL Orchowski's vehicle, the impact disabling the truck and throwing Nick out of the gunner's hatch. With his right shoulder pushed into his cervical spine area, CPL Orchowski suffered fractures of C4, C5, and C6 vertebrae and was immediately paralyzed from the neck down. As a medic worked to save his life, shots continued ring out and the ambush raged on. Nick's last thoughts before falling unconscious were of his wife and unborn child..., "This wasn't supposed to this how it's going to end?" Airlifted to Landstuhl, Germany and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, his next memory was waking up on a respirator, unable to move, his head in a HALO device.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I get to hang around heroes all the time and one of the greatest moments in my life was spending time with Sammy Davis and his wife Dixie. The Orlando Nam Knights had a fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops two years ago and Sammy was the guest of honor. I had known him for years but never had a chance to really talk to him for very long before this event. Sammy and other Medal of Honor Heroes had done a PSA for veterans to seek help with PTSD and heal. I asked him if he wanted to add anything to what he said in that documentary. He had plenty to say. I asked Sammy what it was like coming home and that was the first time I heard the story of what happened to him at the airport. He had been beaten and had dog crap smeared on him after he had been wounded and earned the Medal of Honor. None of that stopped Sammy because he went on to serve in the National Guards later. That is how amazing he is, as if the actions he had taken in Vietnam were not impressive enough. Sammy had a message for the troops and all veterans. "We're not supposed to forget about it" and he wants them to talk about it. You can watch the videos I filmed below. I am so happy UT San Diego did this piece on Sammy. He is truly remakable
By U-T San Diego
JAN. 12, 2014

One in a series on recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for military valor.


Received medal: Nov. 19, 1968

Pfc. Sammy Davis joined the Army after high school in 1966, requesting artillery because his grandfather had done the same job during World War II.

A member of Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Artillery, 9th Infantry Division, Davis and his unit were west of Cai Lay in Vietnam on Nov. 18, 1967, when they came under heavy mortar attack from the Viet Cong.

About 1,500 enemy soldiers began an intense ground attack, halted by a river separating them from the Americans.

The Army unit had four guns and 42 men and had taken a helicopter to the area to set up a remote fire support base.

Davis got his hands on a machine gun, covering for his gun crew, but the enemy’s recoilless rifle round hit the squad’s howitzer and tossed Davis into a foxhole.

He was seriously wounded, but when he regained consciousness, Davis fired one last round from the damaged artillery before being overrun.

He loaded a shell into the howitzer and fired at the enemy.
read more here

May 7, 2012
At the Orlando Nam Knights fundraiser for Homes For Our Troops, Vietnam Veteran and Medal of Honor hero Sammy Davis talked to me about what it was like coming home after all he'd been through. It is a story few have heard before. As Sammy put it, it is one of the reasons no other veteran will ever come home treated like that again.

May 8, 2012
Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Veterans are not public property

Veterans are not public property
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 26, 2013

VA hospital refuses to accept 'Merry Christmas' cards was the headline of a piece written by Todd Stames about Dallas VA hospital refusing to take Christmas cards from school children.

According to Stames, the VA said,'That's great. We're thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'" And that is true but he should have told Stames that the Chaplain could deliver them because he would know the "patient" well enough to be able to judge if the card would be helpful or not.

Any religious item, not matter how innocently it was sent, is not welcomed by everyone equally.

This is a huge issue for our veterans in the hospital. People want to let them know they care and that is a wonderful thing but assuming what they want to give is right is actually wrong. How many times have you wanted to do something for someone only to discover it was not what they needed from you? Just think of yesterday when you gave someone a gift and they took it back to the store today.

If you really want to do something for them, write letters to members of Congress to make sure they are taken care of. Donated to great charities like Fisher House so they can take care of family members near where their loved one is recovering. In 2012 they cared for 19,000 families. They operate 62 houses near hospitals. Since 1990 they have saved families $200 million dollars they would have spent on lodging. The list goes on.

You can donate to the Home Depot Foundation or help to repair a home for a veteran in need. Or give your money and time to Homes For Our Troops to make sure that disabled veterans have a home that is adapted/built for their wounds to make their lives better.

You can volunteer at a VA hospital to spend time with them. You can also do what is advised. If you want to send cards or letters, do it in a generic way so that they know you care about them.

These men and women are not our property and they are individuals. What we may want to do for them may not be what they need or want. It isn't up to us to decide for them.

I would love to take Veterans Bibles to all of them but all of them will not receive them the same way. It isn't up to me to decide who should or should not get one and I take no offense when I am told what I can and cannot do. It is much better to ask first.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Double Amputee Marine Arrives at New Home for Christmas

Injured Marine gets early Christmas present
NBC News 10
By Susie Steimle
Posted: Dec 21, 2013

Burrillville Rhode Island

Marine Corporal Kevin Dubois is finally home. He and his wife cut the ribbon on an early Christmas present Saturday, a brand new, fully paid for, handicap accessible home from Homes for Our Troops, an organization that builds adapted houses for wounded soldiers.

"Thank you doesn't even begin to cover it, everything in this house is going to be perfect for me to be able to use," Dubois said.

His journey back to independent living wasn't easy. Two years ago Dubois stepped on and improvised explosive device in the Helmund Province in Afghanistan, he was trying to rescue a fellow soldier.

"I was originally cut off at the knees but the infection spread to my bones they had to take the rest of my legs," Dubois said.
read more here and see video

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homes For Our Troops building a future for wounded Marine's family

Wounded in Afghanistan, retired Marine from Stow to receive free home
By Jim Carney
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: November 20, 2013

Through the Massachusetts-based nonprofit Homes for Our Troops, a retired Marine from Stow and his family are about to move into a renovated home in Texas — at no cost to them.

Nick Eckley did not want to leave the Marines — “It is a brotherhood like no other,” he said — but after being seriously wounded in Afghanistan on March 23, 2011, he eventually was medically retired.

He called receiving the free home “a blessing to be recognized for the wounds I suffered in Afghanistan.”

Joining Eckley in the home in the suburban Houston town of Cypress will be his wife, Madison “Madi” Eckley, a former Marine who is expecting the couple’s third child, and their two daughters: MaKenna, 3, and Raegan, 1.

The home was a foreclosure that J.P. Morgan Chase bank completely remodeled at no cost to the family. Eckley, 24, joined the Marines in the spring of his senior year at Stow-Munroe Falls High School and left for boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., in August 2007.

He had completed three overseas tours as part of a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) before he was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2011.

In a roadside bombing, he suffered a traumatic brain injury, took shrapnel to his leg, back, face and hands, suffered slipped discs and a 50 percent hearing loss in one ear as well as vision problems.

Eckley said he has undergone 17 surgeries with several more planned. He said he has experienced some cognitive losses and post-traumatic stress after the injury for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.
read more here

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Murder, suicide and the family left behind

Shooter couldn't put war behind him, girlfriend says
Wounded vet who committed murder-suicide had a difficult time dealing with trauma.
The Morning Call
By Pamela Lehman
November 9, 2013

Amanda Snyder fell in love with him five years after he came back from Afghanistan.

A soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division, he had enlisted while still in Northampton Area High School because he wanted to fight in the war on terror. The wounds from that battle injured his brain, cost him the lower half of his right leg and left him without the use of his right hand and wrist.

When she met Robert Kislow at a car show in Macungie, he broke the ice by introducing himself and taking off his prosthetic leg.

That didn't matter to Snyder.

"It made him who he was," she said.

She gave him two children and looked forward to marrying him and living in a new house in Moore Township built by the nonprofit group Homes for Our Troops, which honors veterans by building their dream homes.

For Kislow, that was a house in the woods of northwestern Northampton County that he loved. It was there, just before midnight July 29, that Kislow erupted. He got into an argument with Snyder's mother, shot her to death and then turned the gun on himself.

The murder and suicide seemed the opposite of the positive attitude Kislow had shown in one newspaper story after another. While lying in a bed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005 — knowing that his right foot and lower leg would likely be amputated — he told a Morning Call reporter, "This isn't going to slow me down one bit."

In early 2011, he eagerly awaited moving into his new home and reveled in his job as a technician at PSI Motorsports in Lowhill Township: "I've healed. My head's in a good place."

Snyder, a slight 21-year-old who nervously pulled on her long hair while she talked recently about Kislow and the shootings, said her fiancé's struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder revealed itself in bouts of silence, not violence.

But she has no doubts the shootings were the result of Kislow's battle with PTSD and the traumatic brain injury he suffered in the firefight that cost him his leg eight years ago.

"I don't think of him as a murderer," she said. "I think it built up and he just snapped."

Looking back, she said she now sees warning signs that Kislow was struggling. Instead of worrying his family, she said Kislow would sometimes grow silent.

She said he was frustrated by therapists who seemed to offer only pills to deal with his issues.

"I thought I knew what PTSD is, but I really had no idea," Snyder said.
read more here

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Homes For Our Troops hands keys over to another wounded veteran

Injured sergeant's new home customized for his accessibility
JD News
Published: Saturday, October 26, 2013

STELLA — Three years after he was severely injured in Afghanistan, Army Sgt. Anthony Verra is ready to settle into a “forever” home with his family.

For Verra, home now accompanies push-button doors, easy-to-reach cabinets, and a handicap-accessible shower and open floor plan that gives him mobility — and returns independence he had lost.

“It’s been a long journey. You’ve made this possible. I don’t know how to thank you for that,” Verra said during Saturday’s ceremony.

During the ceremony, the house built in the Stella community was formally presented to the Verra family by Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that has — since Sept. 11, 2001 — been building homes customized for service members severely injured in combat.
read more here

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wounded Afghanistan veteran gets new home and hope

Wounded veteran given new home in Kansas
By Justin Kraemer
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013

ANDALE, Kansas — Sgt. James “Matt” Amos used prosthetic legs and a cane to walk awestruck through his new home in Andale, built by local volunteers and a charity based out of Massachusetts for the wounded veteran.

“I really don’t think you can put into words,” said Amos. “It’s just amazing, the support of the community.”

Amos was wounded in action in Afghanistan in June 2011. The Marine lost both of his legs and shattered his pelvis.

He’s spent the last two years in California recovering through a dozen surgeries. Both Matt and his wife, Audrie are 1999 graduates of Andale High School and decided to return to Kansas when Homes for Our Troops contacted the family about building them a home.

Dozens of volunteers who hadn’t seen the Amos’ in a decade helped build the home. Cargill Beef donated $100,000.

“Folks in these communities genuinely love these men and women who have been wounded and they want to take care of them,” said Larry Gill with Homes for Our Troops.
read more here