Community comes together to help build house for Marine
Thursday, 28 June 2012 by Matthew Girard
MORGAN'S POINT RESORT – Volunteers from all walks of life joined together for three days to help give Marine Staff Sergeant Jack Pierce and his family an easier life.
Starting last Friday with a special dedication, Homes for Our Troops and Drews-Hunt Builders began work on a new home adapted for wheelchair use for Pierce, who was paralyzed by a bomb in Afghanistan in 2010.
"It's so overwhelming," Pierce said. "I'm not used to all this being done for me, it's always for somebody else. It's pretty amazing in the fact that there is an organization out there that does this for wounded troops."
During his third deployment, Pierce was paralyzed after his vehicle drove over a 300-pound bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The blast tossed the vehicle 35 feet, where it came to rest on its roof. Pierce received multiple injuries including a broken knee, broken ribs, scapulas, wrist and vertebraes as well as a crushed spine resulting in being paralyzed from the chest down.
After emergency surgery in Germany, Pierce was then sent to Bethesda Medical Center in Maryland where his spine was fused and he began rehabilitation.
He then was transported to Palo Alto, Cali., where he spent the next five months at the Palo Alto VA Rehabilitation Center.
"One of the things I thought about after I got hit was trying to figure out, 'What am I going to do now and how am I going to live?'" Pierce said. "If you come across an existing home, you are going to have to modify all the doors, all the bathrooms and all the cabinets. To have an organization to come out and take care of you allows you to focus on your recovery and what you are going to do for the next part of your life."
The house will be specially adapted to where Pierce can use his wheelchair without worrying about not being able to access all areas independently.
The goal of the three-day build was to build the frame, side and roof the house and install windows and doors. Interior and finishing work will be completed in the following months.
Homes for Our Troops Veterans Liason Larry Gill said the service the organization provides is a boost for the wounded soldiers.
"It can be overwhelming at times for them," Gill said. "After being a part of about 50 of the 114 homes we've built, I can tell you that their condition, physically and mentally, improves over night to move into these homes."
Gill said the Morgan's Point community was integral in helping give Pierce a new home.
"From the Mayor's office all the way down, Morgan's Point Resort is a wonderful community," Gill said. "Whatever we've asked for, they've been able to accommodate us."
Homes for Our Troops is a national non-profit organization based in Taunton, Mass. founded in 2004. Its mission is to build specially adapted homes for service members who have been severely injured in combat operations since Sept. 11, 2001. All homes are build at no cost to the veteran through the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporate contributors.
For more information about Homes for Our Troops, visit www.homesforourtroops.org.