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Soldier to settle in local home

Groundbreaking was held Monday on the first of two homes the Helping A Hero foundation plans to build in Tennessee this year.
“To date we’ve built 90 homes for heroes in 21 states,” said Helping A Hero founder and chairperson Meredith Her during groundbreaking ceremonies for the future home of the Chaz Allen family on Crisp Springs Road.
The staff sergeant lost both his legs to an IED in Afghanistan Jan. 22, 2011, and has decided to locate here after retiring from the U.S. Army recently. His wife, the former Jessica Collins, was raised in Warren County while her husband hails from a small town in Oklahoma.
“To me this is a big town,” Allen said during his address, noting after looking around Warren County was their choice. “I think this is going to be a great place to raise our kids.”
Her pointed out Allen, who joined the Army right out of high school, came from a long line of soldiers.
“His father and grandfather served,” Her said. She noted Chaz was awarded the Bronze Star, as well as the Purple Heart with a special V for Valor commendation. “That legacy is what makes our country great.”
CSM (retired) Wayne St. Louis recalled how he visited Allen numerous times while he was rehabbing at Walter Reed Medical Center.
“He was setting records there,” St. Louis said, noting Allen completed his rehab in two years even though it was estimated it would take four years. “When I visit folks like Chaz I walk away realizing it gives me strength.”
St. Louis said despite their severe injuries, wounded veterans aren’t looking for sympathy.
“They don’t want your sympathy. They want your support,” St. Louis said.
The next wounded soldier on the list for Helping A Hero, Scott Schroder, was on hand. The organization will be helping him build a physically challenged home in Clarksville later this year.
“The house I live in now, I can’t even get to half of it,” said Schroder, who lost both legs to an IED. “It’s a fight to get around. I can’t begin to say how important having a place like this will be.”
County Executive John Pelham welcomed the Allens to Warren County saying he is proud they chose this community.
“I think the word hero is often overused but we have heroes with us today,” Pelham said. “We are honored to have you here.”
Her noted the foundation that is helping with the Allens’ home would like support from the community.
“Things like building supplies and materials or anything that goes into a project like this we can certainly use,” Her said in urging local businesses to partner with the local project while noting the realtor who secured the land, Donna Campbell, donated her fee to the project.
The foundation can be found online by going to www.helpingahero.org.


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