'Steps 2 Hope' kick-starts fundraising efforts
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB)-- A local organization kicked-started its efforts to help young people who have experienced major life-changing events.
The organization, 'Steps 2 Hope,' was formed in response to local soldier, Andrew Smith, who lost both of his legs in March, shortly after deploying to Afghanistan.
"The battle we went through when David was hurt was just really brutal," says Mark Wilson.
Mark Wilson's son, David, was badly injured in 2008 when a tornado hit his university campus in Jackson, Tennessee.
He says at times the road to recovery was tough.
When he heard about Andrew Smith and the road he was facing, he felt compelled to do something.
"I felt immediately drawn to his parents and to the pain that they had to be going through and the fear and the unknown," says Wilson.
He and his family are launching 'Steps 2 Hope.'
Community members came together Saturday evening to kick-start fund raising efforts to help young people like Andrew who have endured life-altering injuries.
"I've got a real burden for this guy. Not only does he not have his legs, all of life is going to be different. He's lost his career. He's going to need a job. He's going to need a special house."
And that is Steps 2 Hope's first project, to have a new home built for Andrew and his wife Tori, so they can get a fresh start when they return home from Walter Reed Medical Center sometime next year.
"To have a group of people that wants to do this for them, it's just humbling," says Andrew's mother, Cathy.
"I started crying, and I don't cry a lot," says Andrew's wife, Tori. "I haven't cried through this whole thing, but someone wants to build us a home! They have a vision to gather the entire city of Chattanooga and build us a home."
"It's incredible. It's the only way to describe it," says Andrew.
"Every time you see people like this come together and you see what good has come out of what was the most horrible thing we could imagine, it makes us say, 'You know what? They're just scars,'" says Wilson.
To donate to Steps 2 Hope, see their website.