MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Many gathered in the small community of Wellington, Nev., on Feb. 11, to welcome a new neighbor and help build him and his family a home.
Sgt. Dylan Gray, a former Marine with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, is a double amputee, working now as a contractor in range maintenance aboard the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif.
On Feb. 16, 2007, Gray was driving the fourth of five humvees in a convoy when an anti-tank mine detonated under his vehicle while serving in Iraq.
“I woke up in a hospital in Germany a day and a half later. I didn’t remember the accident,” Gray said.
Gray endured six weeks of surgery at the National Navy Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., after losing both his legs in the incident.
Homes For Our Troops is working in conjunction with the Builders Association of Northern Nevada to build the home and make it wheelchair accessible.
Homes For Our Troops is a nonprofit organization which focuses on wounded veterans. The organization raises money and builds new homes for the veterans and their families.
“We are strongly committed to helping those who have selflessly given to our country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries since September 11, 2001,” cited in the Homes For Our Troops mission statement.
The community of Wellington held a ceremony to welcome the Marine and his family, while Marines from MWTC came out to support a friend, including the commanding officer Col. Phillip Chandler.
“I know exactly where Dylan was working in Iraq,” Chandler said. “This has a special significance to me. Sergeant Dylan Gray is the definition of the word [hero]. That same definition applies to everyone standing here today. Those noble qualities take time, money and effort to come out here to do something for this hero, that qualifies [them] as heroes as well.”
The Procter R. Hug High School Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets also came to the event, bringing with them the $3,200 they raised for the project at a silent auction and talent show fundraiser.
The community of Marines and civilians all came together to get the project started.
“I feel like it’s the right thing to do,” said Lance Cpl. Dante Anderson, a volunteer worker for the event. “The fact that he’s a Marine got me out here. I’d do anything for my brothers and sisters.”
The four bedroom, two bathroom house has wider halls and doorways for easy wheelchair accessible a roll-in shower.
“It’s a surreal moment for us right now,” Gray said. “It’s pretty amazing. There are people here that don’t even know me, and they are spending their time here to build us a house.”
The project is slated to be completed in two months.
For more information about Homes For Our Troops, visit http://www.homesfor ourtroops.org.