By Sgt. Robert Schaffner Jr.March 16, 2012
STATESBORO, Ga. (March 16, 2012) -- An escort fit for a hero, conducted by a motorcade of police vehicles with blaring sirens and flashing lights and flag-bearing motorcycles, escorted Georgia National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Scott Millican, and the specially adapted truck he was driving, to the front of his new home.
Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army and Homes for Our Troops President Kenneth O. Preston, greeted Millican as he sat behind the wheel of his vehicle, fighting back tears as he viewed the home and supporters that were there to greet him - to include family members, veterans and Soldiers from the Third Infantry Division and Fort Stewart, Ga.
Homes for Our Troops, a national, non-profit organization dedicated to building specially-designed homes for severely-wounded veterans -- at no cost to the veteran -- presented Millican the keys to a brand new home during a key ceremony on Saturday. The home presented to Millican represented the 109th home built for seriously-injured service members since the organization began building homes in 2004.
"This is a very special day," said Preston. "This home here today is designed to give back the daily independence and the freedom for Scott and for veterans like Scott that are out there."
Congressman John Barrow, representing the 12th district of Georgia, addressed the crowd of supporters.
"I wish we didn't have to be here but, under the circumstances, there isn't any other place I'd rather be." Barrow said. "Homes for Our Troops - think of it as "Extreme Makeover" for heroes."
The emotional recipient expressed his gratitude to those who enabled him to receive his new home while trying to explain its significance.
"When you see this house you'll understand," said Millican at the conclusion of the ceremony.
After Millican cut the ceremonial ribbon, Preston presented him with the key to his brand new 2,600 square-foot, fully-accessible home. Millican then pushed the automatic door opener to his front door and rolled through the front doorway of the home.
The home is equipped with roll-in showers and closets, lowered cabinets, roll under counters and cook top, and extra-wide doorways, along with several other amenities to provide maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently.
Although Millican received the home at no cost, the circumstances which led to him receiving the home proved extremely costly.
Almost two years ago this month, Millican was in Ghazni, Afghanistan, on his second deployment as a combat engineer. While on a route-clearing mission, the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle he was riding in rolled over a 250-pound, pressure-plated improvised explosive device, March 16, 2010. He sustained multiple fractures and was left paralyzed.
Millican was evacuated to a Forward Operating Base in Ghazni; his spleen was removed in order to save his life. After spending more than a week at Landstuhl, Germany, and waking up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he spent a month for care, Millican was then transferred to James A. Haley Hospital in Tampa, Fla., where he remained for almost a year.
Millican's battle is not yet over, as he continues his therapy while assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Stewart.
He remains upbeat and positive after all he'd faced, saying, "I'm just grateful to be here and grateful that people in America still care."