Wounded veteran to receive new home
One of West Virginia's wounded warriors will receive a new home thanks to a national nonprofit agency.
The Military Warriors Support Foundation will present a new home of about 2,800 square feet to an as-yet-unnamed wounded veteran on Wednesday at Haddad Riverfront Park, said Rick Clay, a veteran with the organization.
The event will kick off at 11 a.m.
The recipient has not yet been named publicly and will be surprised by the presentation, Clay said.
The program is designed to give veterans who were wounded in action mortgage-free homes, Clay said. Since 2010, the program has awarded more than 300 homes to veterans in 35 states.
"But this is the first one we've given away in West Virginia," he said.
The homes come fully renovated and are typically valued at $150,000 to $250,000.
The wounded veterans and their families also are given three years of family and financial mentoring to make sure they have the skills needed to be successful homeowners, according to a press release.
The foundation will announce another program designed to help spouses of deceased veterans during Wednesday's event, Clay said.
The Gold Star program will provide a mortgage-free home to the spouse of a service member who has been killed, he said.
"If you're a surviving spouse, you can apply and we'll vet you," Clay said. "And if you qualify, you get a home."
Clay is a former Marine who also served as program manager for the Ministry of Housing and Construction in war-torn Iraq, where he oversaw $1.9 million worth of construction was responsible for more than 60,000 employees.
He was wounded in 2009 outside Baqubah, suffering a severe neck injury that hurts to this day.
Clay said seeing a wounded veteran accept a house is a wonderful thing.
"There are just a lot of our veterans that are severely wounded and they can't even make a living," he said. "They've fallen on difficult times.
"This foundation was put together to help address that."
Clay volunteers in such programs as a way of giving back to those who gave to their country.
"It just makes me feel so doggone good to help these veterans," he said with a smile.
Local and state dignitaries won't be the only ones attending Wednesday's event at Haddad.
The parents of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL and author of the New York Times bestseller "American Sniper" will also be on hand for the ceremony.
Kyle was called the country's most lethal sniper. He served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom and received Bronze and Silver Star medals.
He and a companion were shot and killed at the Rough Creek Lodge shooting range in Texas on Feb. 2 by a young veteran purportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The shooter has been charged with murder.
Kyle's mother and father, Wayne and Deby, will be the honorary presenters of the home to the veteran.