Lancaster Community Builds Home for Wounded Soldier

When soldiers come home from service, for many it’s been difficult to find jobs. Following the homecoming parades and ribbon cuttings, sometimes these courageous beings go unnoticed even after the dedication and life-threatening situations that they give to this country.

Well the Mojave Desert town of Lancaster, CA has not forgotten. The basis of this was through the students of Jamie Goodreau’s U.S. history classes found out about Jerral Hancock – an Iraq War veteran who lost his arm and is paralyzed from being burned in the battlefields according to CBS 8 News in San Diego.

According to the CBS article, the class got word that Hancock was captive in his own mobile home for half of a year because his handicapped accessible van ceased operation, and the corridors of his mobile home were far too skinny for him to move with his wheelchair.

The students of Goodreau’s classes at Lancaster High School put together an end of the year project for 15 years raising funds to as much as $30,000 for veteran’s charities and a dinner to celebrate their efforts. However Goodreau’s class this year made the decision of constructing a home for Hancock, according to CBS.

Six months after they made the choice of constructing a handicap accessible home for Hancock, these students closed escrow on a $264,000 piece of land. The class plans to break ground in December as the blueprints have been drawn up, according to the article.

The students raised $80,000 in four months through T-shirts, refrigerators, yard sales and pizza nights, and that’s when the community of Lancaster and neighboring city Palmdale to join the assistance for Hancock.

Stores are offering discounts on building supplies, the construction contractor volunteered is time when the assembling  begins, a firm for architecture supplied blueprints, the real estate agent waived commission, inmates from the prison nearby held a sale of artwork and the Edwards Air Force Base credit union pitched in money from loans according to the story.

According to the article, when Hancock was in Baghdad, he was driving a tank and an enemy hit his vehicle with an explosive device that exploded through its armor and started it started to burn. When this occurred, shrapnel from the exploding device was stuck in his spine and it ultimately paralyzed his legs so he could not escape the blaze. This traumatic experience for Hancock all took place on his 21st birthday.

The project is entitled by the students of Goodreau ‘Operation All the Way Home.’ As the project usually is completed by the end of the school year, the children will see the project all the way through until the house is completely built by a projected summer 2014. Hancock will move in with his two sons aged nine and six and his two dogs.

“We had no doubt that it could be done,” said one of the senior students Joseph Mallyon in the article. “Now there are some people in the community, you know, the older people, the people who have jobs, who go through life every day and know the harsh reality of things.”

“Those people doubt us. But we just accept it and say, ‘Watch what we can do.’”

By Linda Moore


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