Dozens of first responders come together to build new home for local purple heart recipient
A non-profit called "A Soldier's Journey Home" is helping a local disabled veteran in the Tennessee Valley by building his family a new home from the ground up--free of charge.
"We're 100% volunteer, nobody gets a dime, every penny raised goes to where it's supposed to go to--the veteran," said A Soldier's Journey Home President Patrick Neville.
First responders with the organization are putting themselves last in order to give back to veterans wounded in the line of duty.
"From time that they would take vacation or work on the side to support their families, they're taking the time now to give back to our veterans," Neville said.
This year's build project was an effort to help Purple Heart Recipient Corporal Alex Edwards.
"To this day I don't believe that I'm deserving of this," Edwards told Channel 3.
For the last seven days a crew of about 70 policemen, firemen and other volunteer first responders have been working to build Edwards and his family the new home in his hometown of McDonald.
"It's really just a gift and all these people out here working on it...it's just amazing," he explained.
It's the sixth home the non-profit has built for disabled veterans in six years. Neville says with limits on taking time away, they only have about 12 days to finish a job. But it's worth making the sacrifice for soldiers.
"We do our own travel, we get down here, we have 12 days because we're limited in the amount of time we can be away from our families and our work place," Neville said.
Edwards who previously served in the Marines was injured in 2013 while in Afghanistan.
"I had some swelling in my brain, permanent hearing loss in my right ear and just a ton of residual TBI affects," he said.
Neville says after reviewing his application for the opportunity, he felt Edwards was the most deserving candidate.
"22 veterans a day are dying. A lot of that is financial reasons and stuff like that. If we can make a difference that's what we're here for," he said.
Edwards says he's just grateful that his sacrifice is being rewarded in the form of a new place to call home.
Neville says majority of the supplies they use to build these homes are provided by sponsors like Home Depot. For this year's project, they also relied on local companies like Chattanooga Bobcat, Sunbelt Rentals, Hardie Siding, Chick's Lumber and others.
If you're interested in donating to the cause click here.