Iraq vet's home takes shape
FLORENCE -- A three-day Build Brigade event to build a home for a disabled veteran here with Homes for Our Troops continued Friday as a completed framework was erected by the end of the day.
Volunteers from Healing Emergency Aid Response Team 9/11 (H.E.A.R.T. 9/11), Homes for Our Troops and the community were busy sawing and nailing down wood while others were installing windows and placing siding on the 2,100-square-foot home.
The home is being donated by Homes for Our Troops to Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Robinson and his wife, Sara. Robinson was injured when a roadside bomb exploded and destroyed his vehicle, killing two of his fellow Marines. He is now paralyzed from the chest down with some paralysis in his arms.
Homes for Our Troops builds specialized homes for injured veterans who need handicapped-accessible housing.
Early Friday morning, a crane brought in the roofing tresses for the home.
"We're right on track," said Mike Duckett, project manager for Homes for Our Troops. "(Today) we will complete the roof shingles, doors, windows and finish the siding."
The Build Brigade is an intense three-day event designed to construct a weather-tight shell for the house. Over the next three months, plumbers, electricians, heating and ventilation technicians and painters will finish the home.
The general contractor volunteering time to build the home is Kojeski Construction of Voorhees.
"This came along as I was looking for something to do (for charity)," said Charles Kojeski, owner of Kojeski Construction. "It was perfect timing."
Kojeski's father served in the Marine Corps.
"I'm going to do whatever it takes to get Andy in (the home) at the end," he said. "It's very rewarding."
Kojeski said the heat was taking a toll on the volunteers, but the project was progressing on schedule.
"It's been brutally hot and hard on everyone," he said.
Most materials and services have been donated to the project, including the siding, windows, cabinets and granite countertops.
"We've also received materials at cost and discounted," he added. "This community is really patriotic."
Sara Robinson's family lives in the Roebling section of Florence and has been on site to provide water, towels, food and support.
"They've been given an opportunity of a lifetime," said Larry Hulehan, 56, Sara's father. "These volunteers are like angels sent from God to provide such a blessing to my daughter and son-in-law."
Her younger sister, Amy, 14, was also helping out.
"She's moving from 3,000 miles to three minutes," she said about the Robinson's move from San Diego to Florence. "I'm excited they're going to be here for birthdays and holidays."
Rain poured as late afternoon drew near, but the work didn't stop.
"The local outpouring of support is awesome," said Kojeski. "It's been a blessing and I would do it again in a heartbeat."