Oct. 26 was an emotional morning for Lcpl. Nick Thom as he received the key to his new home. Homes for our Troops recognized his efforts in Afghanistan, and with help from other organizations and individuals, built him a specially adapted home. Thom was serving in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan when a suspicious item was seen near his position. He went to investigate a can with wires sticking out, which was an improvised explosive device. It was remotely detonated when Thom approached. Thom was severely injured, and as his fellow Marines rushed in, the enemy ambushed. He was carried out of the chaos, and doctors fought to close his wounds on the scene. He lost both legs, three fingers, and sustained multiple upper-body injuries. The MEDEVAC chopper could not retrieve Thom for 30 minutes due to the battle, and Thom blacked out. He was transported to Bagram Air Force Base where he was stabilized. He was eventually taken back to the U.S. to Walter Reed Medical Center, where he is still receiving treatment and therapy. After all that he has been through, he is overjoyed to have a home to share with his wife, Samantha.
"Thank you for helping me and my wife overcome the obstacles that have been placed before us," Thom said to those who helped their dream home become a reality. At the ceremony, a band of students from Linton Hall School played their instruments, and a group of more than 60 veterans rumbled in on their Harley Davidsons, each boasting an oversized American flag. Thom arrived, driving a black SUV, and shakily stepped out on his prosthetic legs to the sound of cheers, clapping, and camera shutters.
During the ceremony, Thom was presented with a hand stitched quilt from Quilt of Valor, a plaque with the words "Thom home, est. 2013," and framed awards. Moving over to the front of the house, Thom lowered and removed the Homes for our Troops flag, then with tears in his eyes raised the American flag. The couple was then presented with an enormous key marked, "Key to independence and freedom" and scissors to cut the ribbon. When the one ribbon fluttered into two pieces, attendees screamed loudly, and allowed a few tears to fall.
According to General USA, Ret. Richard A. Cody, Homes for our Troops "receives donations from individual donors, corporations and foundations from across the country." Cody said that people ask him why the government doesn't pay for the cost of these homes, and after some reflection he found the answer in the Constitution: "We the People." Cody said that after everything veterans have sacrificed, it is now the people's duty to care for those in need.
If you would like to make a donation to Homes for our Troops, you can donate online at http://www.hfotusa.org
by ma,il at 6 Main Street, Taunton, MA 02780, or by phone at (866)7TROOPS.