By Aniesa HolmesDecember 4, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Dec. 4, 2013) -- A Fort Benning drill sergeant is one of dozens of volunteers helping to build a new home for the family of a fallen Soldier.
Staff Sgt. Neil Lynch, a drill sergeant with A Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, was contacted to participate in a Veteran's Day home building project by the family of Spc. Jonathan Davis, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 27, 2012. Lynch was attached to Davis' unit, A Company, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C., at the time of his death.
"My first response was anything I could do to help, I would do it," he said. "There's a bond that develops when you actually serve with someone. That person becomes just like your own family."
Squarefoot Ministries, a faith-based, nonprofit organization based in Fayetteville, Ga., brings volunteers from area churches to sponsor the construction of a new home for a veteran's family. When the organization learned that Davis' wife Kristen and her son Ben were living with her parents, the volunteers decided to build them a new home in Griffin, Ga.
Materials for the construction were donated by individuals and businesses in the community and a large group of volunteers. Building began in October, when volunteers met to work on the foundation and the floor system. On Veterans' Day, Lynch assisted with raising the walls and roof of the home.
Lynch said volunteers expect to have the house completed by Dec. 17. He said Davis is remembered for his strong faith, family values and remaining positive through difficult times.
"I know that if he was still here and the roles were reversed, he would be doing the same things for me or any of his battle buddies," Lynch said. "He never got to see the birth of his son, and he looked forward to being a father."
Despite his busy schedule, Lynch said he travels to Griffin to help out when he can. Capt. Matthew Berg, commander for A Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, said Lynch is the example of true leader.
"Staff Sergeant Lynch is a great inspiration as a volunteer," he said.
"As a drill sergeant, he has a tremendously busy work schedule, and to take the little free time he has to make contributions to the community shows he is a perfect person to teach and instill the Army values in the newest Soldiers to enter the Army."
To volunteer with the Veterans Day Build project on the Davis home, visit www.squarefootministry.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.