Army Staff Sgt. Dwayne Cole was shot in the neck at close range while serving our country in Iraq. The bullet lodged in his spinal column, leaving him a quadraplegic. A fellow patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center told Sgt. Cole about Homes for Our Troops and the Build Brigade program. Sgt. Cole and his wife applied and Homes for Our Troops accepted the mission of easing the effects of this catastrophic injury by building a specially adapted, barrier-free home for the Coles in Varina, Virginia. The group has built 50 such homes for wounded vets since 2004 and has another 30 under construction.
Tomorrow, Homes for Our Troops will complete the exterior of the four-bedroom, wheelchair accessible home, which, when finished is expected to be valued at $275,000. It will be presented to the Coles at no cost. During a ceremony at the construction site yesterday, Sgt. Cole took the microphone, but was too choked up to speak. Someone in the crowd reportedly shouted, "You’ve done enough," to which Cole replied, "If I had a chance, I’d do more."
It goes without saying that we civilians owe heroes like Sgt. Cole a tremendous debt of gratitude. It also deserves to be mentioned that we could all learn from Homes for Our Troops by volunteering for a cause for no other reason than to help others. Supporting organizations which turn around and send us business is not altruism, it’s marketing. We should continue to support all of our favorite organizations, but also find time to help people like Sgt. Cole for no other reason than he deserves the help. Kudos to the good people involved with Homes for Our Troops (www.HomesForOurTroops.org) and the companies that have donated money and supplies to the organization, including: Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robins-Community Foundation which gave $100,000, and local Virginia companies, Pro-Build of Chester, S.B. Cox Inc., Riverside Brick & Supply, Simonton Windows, Marshall Mechanical, Ducts Unlimited, and Ferguson plumbing supply, which donated materials to the Cole project. Thank you too to Katherine Calos, reporter at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, for publicizing this important event.