3/30/2011

Homes for Our Troops

I was a laborer on the Build Brigade with Homes for Our Troops to help build a home for Sgt Adam Kisielewski in Frederick, MD. It was just an outstanding event. Like so much volunteer work, I got more than I gave. (Read the background story in the Mt. Airy Gazette here.Or view a film about Operation Second Chance here or a YouTube video of the build here.)
All I did was carry lumber, put boards over the mud near the chow line, picked up nails with magnets, and carried logs and branches off the property. In turn, I got to meet a guy who gave so much of himself for me and mine and my country, his wife and baby, and some fine, fine American's I never would have known otherwise.
WFMD, the Frederick talk radio station, was crucial to getting the word out. They have great photos of the first day of patriotic ceremonies and construction here.
Click any photo to enlarge it. 
I took them with an HTC Verizon Thunderbolt I purchased the day before. They look even better enlarged. 
Sorry about the fact that they are so scattered. Blogger changed the settings in the template and I cannot figure out how to get them to line up. 
I will add a few more videos soon.

I have Pennsylvania Dutch in me. The closest I can come to this experience is a barn raising...but with tradesman using power tools.
Everyone I met there was aware that they were thanking an American veteran with high disability rating injuries to have a home he could raise a family in that worked. Like me, they heard about it on the radio, saw the video of Adam restricted by his old three-story home, and knew that they had to help.
The weather was cold and clear and the work hurried because the weather prediction was for rain and snow on Sunday, the third day of the build. Ah...but God made sure the weather changed and work continued on Sunday. That was just one or many miracles.
There are so many who no longer believe in miracles. I do.
I was part of one that day. I saw tradesman skillfully form wood into frame, plywood into roof, shingles into roof protection, siding into an external house skin, trees and brush cleared to create space...all with smiles, hardiness, determination, and grit.
I saw big, burly construction workers and bikers tear up when Adam thanked them for his family for giving them a fine home.

I teared up myself when they held the 50/50 raffle and everyone who won money, or a coupon for dinner, turned around and donated it back to Adam's family.
People are so good and we need to remember that to counter the 24/7 media drum of negativity.
I saw a man who gave his limbs for me and my family and this nation graciously walk about, haltingly at times over uneven terrain, because he depends on a prosthetic leg device for mobility, to shake hands to thank volunteer after volunteer with his remaining hand.
Adam has a depth of character most men can only hope for. He is Vice President of Operation Second Chance and you can see a profile of his strength of character here.
His wife, Carrie, like so many vets wives, is the source of much of his grace and strength. And their handsome and ebbulient  baby Evan, who rutched like any 15-month old when I tried to get a good photo of the family, gives me hope for this country's future. They helped me return home to appreciate my own wife, sons, and home far more than I do normally.
I thank God I was able to be there and for Homes for Our Troops.
I thank God that I live in a country that cares enough about its wounded vets to provide for them materially so they can, in turn, provide so much for all Americans by their solid example.
I thank God I have the privilege of being an American among such Americans.
And I especially thank Adam for reminding me what a God-given miracle body and spirit is everyday, and how I should not ever take such miracles for granted.

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