Iraq Veteran gets new home
The community and a national organization are giving back to a local Iraq war veteran by building him a new home. Monday was groundbreaking for Marine Crpl. Evan Morgan's home.
Thanks to a non-profit organization called Homes for our Troops, service members like Morgan are getting help with one of the biggest debts most of us will ever incur, a home mortgage.
"Everytime we build a home for an injured service member, anytime that you honor one military member you honor all of them," said John Gonsalves, founder of Homes for our Troops. Gonsalves's organization has built 40 homes for veterans across the country.
In 2003, Morgan lost both his legs, and the sight in his right eye after a bomb detonated under his vehicle in Iraq.
Once local builder Dave Packer heard what Homes for our Troops was doing, he wanted to create a specially designed home that suits Morgan's special needs. "The community is a very giving community and your read about it all the time and you read about these projects. And something like this comes by and this is what I do and this is how I can help," said Packer.
Packer helped spread the word and recruited other builders to lend a hand. "It's a way to give back to somebody whose given so much to us already," said volunteer Pat McGinn. "If there's anyone deserving it's Corporal Evan Morgan."
The community donated much of the materials. One local organization even gave $50,000 to the Morgan project. All of this as a small way of saying thank you. "These are the greatest volunteers in the world, the men and women in the military," said Gonsalves. "And all we're asking is for people to volunteer for them," he added.
"It's fantastic," said Morgan. "You know it's another great showing of Bakersfield and their support for our troops and people like us," said the wounded Marine.
During a 17 News at Sunrise interview Tuiesday morning, Gonsalves announced that a specially designed home will also be built this year for Wesley Barrientos, a wounded soldier from Bakersfield who also lost his legs in an Iraq War explosion.
Even though many of the materials for Morgan's home have been donated, Packer says much more is still needed to complete the project.