By Mrs Beth Clemons (ACC)June 17, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Dozens of volunteers gathered in Madison, Ala., today for one purpose " to build Cpl. Jeffery Williams a new house through Homes for Our Troops.
Personnel from the U.S. Army Contracting Command were on site to deliver cases of water, sports drinks and ice. The much-needed supplies were purchased through collaborative donation efforts by the ACC G-2 and G-3, and the Aviation and Missile Command’s G-2.
Williams, who is originally from Selma, Ala., was on his first deployment to Iraq when he was paralyzed from the chest down by an improvised explosive device in May 2004. Williams appreciates all of the support he has received, stating, "God bless your hearts...even in times like these, it’s a good feeling knowing that there are great Americans out there willing to help."
Russell Parman, ACC G-2 senior intelligence analyst, coordinated the ACC and AMCOM efforts, collecting donations from his coworkers including Keith Jackson, Scott Romero, Samuel Bell, Victor Dubose, Eddie Longo, Richard Sherman, Charles Looney, Scott Barkalow, Lynn Kirkland and Capt. Rusty Gates.
“My wife, Megan, is a budding philanthropist and became aware of the Williams project through Facebook,” said Parman. “Once we found out there was something we could do locally we jumped on the opportunity to help a fellow veteran.”
Parman says projects like this hit close to home, being a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom himself. Parman served in the Army for more than eight years, and just re-enlisted in May. Parman has been involved in similar projects before - he worked with Extreme Home Makeover to help build a home for a Soldier near Fort Campbell, Ky. He and his wife have a five-month-old son, John Russell. They relocated to Alabama in 2010 to be closer to family.
“In the ACC G-2 section, we’ve all served and believe we have a moral obligation to help a brother veteran. When you have served in combat and are blessed enough to return home safe and sound there’s a real desire to take care of our own, particularly in the Army family,” said Parman.
Groups from around the Tennessee Valley community were on hand to welcome Williams to his new home site, including the Redstone Arsenal NCO Academy, who served as the color guard for the event; Huntsville Community Church choir, and the American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders, who acted as escorts for Williams’ caravan.
“This is really motivational, when we were told about this opportunity to help a comrade we just wanted to come out here and do what we could. His story is inspiring,” said Sgt. Jeremy Robinette, who is attending the Redstone Arsenal NCO Academy and hails from Fort Bragg’s 18th Ordnance Company, 192nd Ordnance Battalion.
According to Homes for Our Troops officials, this is the first day of the three-day build, by the end of the weekend there will be a weather-tight shell. The group plans to return within 90 days to have a key ceremony and give Williams the keys to his new home.
“It is vital to the men and women who served to realize that communities across the nation support what they are doing,” said Larry Gill, Homes for Our Troops veteran’s liaison. “This home will be complete with wider doors and hallways, roll-under cook tops, roll-in showers, pull-out cabinetry, and front loading appliances. Everything in this house is specifically put in place to give Jeffery access to it.”
Gill went on to say the team is in need of volunteers of all specialties. Anyone interested in helping with Williams’ home can show up to the build site this weekend at 105 Brigadoon Drive in Madison and will be put to work. Those unable to come to the location can donate through their website, www.homesforourtroops.org, and federal employees can help through the Combined Federal Campaign (code #12525).
“I just never imagined this would be possible. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this happen, you are all true patriots,” said Williams.