Rail Gunners volunteer to help disabled Vet
September 24, 2012
MORGANS POINT RESORT, Texas -- Despite the cloud cover and the threat of rain, 22 Soldiers from the 41st Fires Brigade, "Rail Gunners," met at lot 14 on Key Wish Drive in Morgan's Point Resort, Texas, to help a fellow brother-in-arms by adding the finishing touches to his new home, Sept. 15.
In all, approximately 55 Soldiers across Fort Hood gave their time to assist a fellow service member. Soldiers of all ranks -- privates, sergeants, and officers alike, gave up their Saturday morning to help former Marine Staff Sgt. Jack Pierce.
The Soldiers lay patches of sod, planted trees, bushes and flowers in front of the newly constructed home provided to Pierce, who was paralyzed from the chest down after his vehicle drove over a 300 pound bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Jan. 9, 2010, through the Homes for Our Troops program. The house was built to allow Pierce the freedom of movement allowing him to live more independently.
Homes for Our Troops is a national non-profit organization founded in 2004. The organization provides houses to disabled veterans.
The building of the house began June 15 and the yard was the last step to complete the new home. The homes that are provided by Homes for Our Troops are given at no cost to the disabled veterans.
"It's a warm feeling, knowing that Soldiers from my unit would come out here to donate their time to help someone else," said 1st Lt. Annemarie McCreight, an executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Bde. "To come out and lend a hand to help him live a better life outside of the uniform is easy motivation to come out here," said McCreight.
As the Rail Gunners gathered to lend a helping hand, the physical labor that helped finish the new home also helped to polish the Rail Gunners' team and boost the esprit de corps.
"Doing something outside of your normal duty will help bring a team together," said 1st Sgt. Jeremy Hall, the first sergeant for A Battery, 26th Field Artillery Regiment (Target Acquisition Battery), 41st Fires Bde.
In the spirit of volunteering and the good-natured gesture, the Soldiers from the 41st Fires Bde. received an equal sized payout by knowing their time was used to help someone in need.
"It makes me feel good, helping others out," said Spc. Steven Degonia, a heavy wheel mechanic, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, 41st Fires Bde.
The leaders within the brigade made a point to lend a helping hand. With all the volunteers on hand, the yard was completed quickly.
"I can't ask these Soldiers to give up some of their time to be out here if I'm not willing to give up some of my time," said Command Sgt. Maj. Antonio Dunston, command sergeant major for the 41st Fires Bde. "It's one of the most rewarding things I could ask for, seeing these Soldiers volunteer their time on a weekend," Dunston said.