Scouts seek help for Marine
FORT HOOD — All over Fort Hood Saturday, Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 224 worked to build a network of volunteers to help build a specialized home for a soldier paralyzed from combat injuries.
U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jack Pierce was on his third deployment in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan when his vehicle drove over a 300-pound IED that left two soldiers dead and Pierce paralyzed from the chest down.
Pierce is a native Texan who now calls Temple home. But his apartment is not built for a wheelchair-bound man. The nonprofit organization Homes for Our Troops is working to build a customized home for Pierce and his family.
On Saturday, 15-year-old Eagle Scout hopeful Colt Morris worked diligently to coordinate dozens of volunteers at four Fort Hood locations.
The Scouts weren't looking for money, which perplexed some of the people they approached with fliers as they entered and exited the Clear Creek Post Exchange. What Morris wanted to find were contractors, builders, electricians or people who knew them.
It's part of a larger effort to build a web of volunteers who are willing to give up their time and maybe part with a few dollars for a good cause, but also have the know-how and access to materials that will help Pierce get a home suitable to his needs.
"I'm more like one piece in a much larger picture," Morris said just before briefing a new set of afternoon volunteers he recruited to hand out fliers and spread the message.
Morris, a student at Killeen High School, used school groups like the National Honor Society to spread the word about the cause, which he has made a project for his Eagle Scout candidacy. He also recruited volunteers from his church, the 73rd Street Chapel at Fort Hood.
Maj. Marty Akers learned about Morris' project at the chapel. Akers and his wife are preparing to leave the Central Texas area, so they decided to give up some of their time to give back to the area before they leave.
"This has probably been the best use of our time since we got here. It's very patriotic," Akers said.
Clayton Jessee, a 13-year-old student at Smith Middle School, said overall he got a positive response from people he spoke with about the cause.
"Some people have been really surprised. They've taken it really well," Jessee said.
To learn more about Homes for Our Troops and the effort to build Pierce a home, go to www.homesforourtroops.org/pierce.