By Sgt. Dustin GautneyFebruary 9, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Home - a place where many feel the heart remains no matter how far you drift away. For Soldiers, who often deploy for long periods of a time, home is what keeps Soldiers going; it reminds them of what they are fighting for.
Recently, an opportunity to give a fellow Soldier a home presented itself to the Soldiers of 2nd "Spartan" Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division through the Homes for Heroes program.
The home, built for retired Staff Sgt. Jason Letterman, a former 3rd ID Soldier, who lost both of his legs, suffered traumatic brain injuries and fractured his shoulder and pelvis from an improvised explosive device in Farasiyah, Iraq, May 2008, received the home after only three days of construction due to the support of local contractors, hundreds of local Fort Stewart Soldiers, and many Hinesville citizens.
"I just felt I had to come and do something for a fellow brother in uniform," said Spc. Shane Blanchard, 26th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd HBCT, 3rd ID.
"It has been amazing how much work has been completed on the house in only three days. It seems like the whole Fort Stewart-Hinesville Community has come out and really supported this project," said Spc. Shane.
Whether the task was providing food to the contractors, performing the technical work to moving wood, or keeping the area clear of debris, Soldiers like Sgt. Carla Adams, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd HBCT, said they were more than willing to sacrifice their time for the event's cause.
"So many people believe the success of our Soldiers relies on the sacrifices of those that came before us. This is an awesome opportunity for all of us to sacrifice our time to give something back to Soldiers like Staff Sgt. Letterman and his family who have sacrificed so much," said Sgt. Adams.
While hundreds of Spartan Soldiers, Soldiers throughout 3rd ID, local business came to support the project, others travelled much further, because they said it was the right thing to do.
"Well, I first heard of the project on the radio about six months ago, and I thought it sounded like an awesome project. About a week ago, I heard about this particular project on National Public Radio while I was working in Miami, and I knew it was time to do my part," said Bob Christian, a Miami, Fla. based painting contractor.
"I am just amazed at the level of camaraderie all of these young Soldiers have for each other; it is really amazing," said Christian.
For Staff Sgt. Steven Colon, 1st Battalion, 64th Combined Arms Battalion, 2nd HBCT, much like Bob Christian, camaraderie is what kept him coming everyday to support the project.
"It has been awesome seeing everyone get involved. Soldiers were moving wood, bricks, and anything else the contractors needed," said Staff Sgt. Colon. "It just makes you proud as a leader to see these Soldiers truly believe in helping a fellow Soldier. It is a testament to not only the Spartan Brigade, but 3rd Infantry Division and the Army as a whole."
Staff Sergeant Letterman said he was overjoyed and thankful to all who helped him construct his new home.
"My heart goes out to everyone that has come to support this build, and hopefully, everyone continues to support great organizations like Homes for our Troops. I truly thank you for this privilege," said retired Staff Sgt. Letterman.