With construction under way for the handicapped-accessible house for wounded warrior Chaz Allen and family, West Point is getting involved and is hoping to help the family raise money to offset the high cost of the home.
The volunteer initiative called 9-Line is spearheaded by officers at West Point and seeks to help wounded warriors in getting handicapped-accessible homes. Military officials hope the community will get behind their initiative and be part of the Allens’ new home.
“One hundred percent of the contributions go to help build our home,” said Jessica Allen, Chaz’s wife. Jessica was born and raised in Warren County and is happy the family has chosen to settle back in her hometown after her husband’s retirement from the U.S. Army.
A veteran of Iraq, Kosovo and Korea, Staff Sgt. Allen was on dismounted patrol in the Zhari district in Afghanistan when he stepped on a 40-pound IED. He instantly lost both legs, one above the knee, one below, and the blast took pieces of his elbow. His platoon had him on a chopper in eight minutes. Allen remained alert through the entire experience. He even tried to call for his own chopper.
From the battlefield he went to Kandahar, then Bagram, then Germany and then finally to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While in Kandahar, his knee was determined to be unsalvageable so they amputated his leg above his knee.
“Chaz and Jessica never stopped to count the amount of surgeries, blood transfusions or procedures Chaz has had,” the appeal from 9-Line reads. “After several surgeries, the wonderful surgeons at Walter Reed were able to save Chaz's right arm. However his right arm is fused in a 93-degree angle. He also has a painful back injury, hearing loss and several other issues that fill the banker's boxes of medical paperwork they have in their garage and on disc.”
Allen medically retired from the Army on Jan. 19, 2013. The Allen family currently resides just outside of Ft. Campbell where they are now working with the wounded, ill and injured of the 101st and Middle Tennessee.
The decision was made last year to locate on Crisp Springs Road. However, issues concerning a nonprofit agency that was to build their home, and delay after delay, caused the family to have to go it on their own and finance the specially designed residence.
“It’s been tough for Chaz to get around in a two-story home where he has to go up and down stairs,” Jessica said.
With the high cost of a mortgage and limited resources from the Veteran’s Administration, the Allens’ were worried about being able to finance the new house. That’s when 9-Line stepped in and volunteered to help raise money.
The idea behind 9-Line is to have the public have their names written on framing boards that will be used in their house. For each $20 contribution, the family will personally write your name, business, or organization’s name on the wood framing.
“While the names will be covered up once construction is completed, the names of those who want to the support them will always remain in the walls of their home and in their hearts,” the appeal reads.
Framing of the home is expected to begin later this month. Anyone interested in making the tax-deductible contribution can go to https://secure.west-point.org/9linefoundation/chazallen/