William Word is just months away from living the “American Dream”. The Lakeside High School graduate and Army veteran is back in town. This will be his home.
“Things are going great. I have a little girl. She's excited about the house, as well William says.
But, it's a dream that was almost shattered. William served in Afghanistan…
“We'd get different missions that required different things of us. Sometimes they'd say, 'we got a guy we got to go after, they are causing trouble in this neighborhood. We got to go quiet it down, keep things safe for people'. Other times, 'it's about to be Winter time, these guys are going to freeze because they don't have electricity, let's go hand out some stoves',” William says.
Despite all of his efforts to help all of those locals, though, William was of course himself still a foreigner, an American, and a target. And, he's a target that on Christmas Eve morning in 2008, the enemy hit, with a rocket.
“We were on the little bitty outpost where we were stationed at, and we overlooked this village and helped keep it safe and make sure weapons didn't go through there and things of that nature. And, while we were there, they shot rockets at us, which wasn't uncommon. But this time, they were a little more accurate than usual and hit my truck and injured myself and some of my buddies,” William says.
William will always feel the damage from that day. “It left me with an amputated leg, some bruised internal stuff, some broken bones, some scrapes, some cuts…a whole laundry list of just physical ailments which luckily most of them, I'm able to just use the Army motto of Adapt and Overcome and keep driving on to the next day,” he says.
Now, his healing can take place in his home. Crews will go room by room to fix this place up. Habitat for Humanity and other soldiers will do the work.
“So, we have 4 partners, we have our veteran, William. We have Jim Lorraine. We have the 319th Vietnam Veterans Transportation Company and we have Habitat for Humanity,” says Dennis Hoyt, executive director of Augusta CSRA Habitat for Humanity.
The Augusta Warrior Project is shepherding William through this whole homebuilding process. It's just part of what they do…
“I was completely blind to how to tackle all the obstacles that were in front of me, to the point where I was like, 'I don't know where to start, I have no means of figuring this out, there's so much red tape, there's nothing I can do',” William says.
“This is a great mission that we have. We need the community's support to do it. Watching Will achieve the goals that he's set and watching him work through it has been very satisfying and we do it with hundreds and thousands of veterans in the local area,” says Jim Lorraine, of the Augusta Warrior Project.
What a home…what a journey…from an outpost in Afghanistan to a neighborhood in Martinez…a local hero is home. He's a hero proud to have served, back in a community that is grateful that he did.
“It was a dangerous line of work. I knew what I was getting into, so it didn't upset me that I saw the wrong end of that because I accepted that that was a possibility from the beginning,” William says.
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