• Last modified 3400 days ago (Jan. 28, 2010)


Organization will build home for wounded soldier

Volunteers needed

Managing editor

The program may not be familiar to local residents but the cause is a common one.

The organization, Homes for Our Troops, is planning to construct a new home in Marion for the Ryan and Carrie Newell family, but they will need help to do it.

With the philosphy of building homes not only with their hands but also with their hearts, Larry Archer, the Build Brigade Construction Manager for the organization, was in Marion Monday and Tuesday, lining up businesses and individuals to help with the project.

“It takes a lot of volunteers to make this happen,” Archer said.

Ryan Newell was injured a year ago in Afghanistan when the Humvee in which he was riding was destroyed by a homemade bomb. As a result of the explosion, both of Newell’s legs were amputated.

His wife, Carrie, is a 1997 Marion High School graduate. Her parents, Tom and Shawn Wunderlick, also live in Marion.

The organization has completed 40 homes and there are 33 homes across the U.S. in progress of being built.

Homes for Our Troops recently purchased a lot in Country Club Heights in Marion. The City of Marion will waive utility tap fees and building permit costs. The remainder of the costs come from donations.

The construction of the home will be supervised by the organization with local and area volunteers providing labor.

Plans are to have the majority of the home constructed in three days.

Local contractors and professionals will be used, which Archer said was important to the process.

Why is Archer involved in the organization?

“You can never serve your country enough,” he said.

Although Archer did not serve in the military, he wants to give back to those who have served and continue to serve.

“This is my tour of duty,” he said.

A construction schedule will be set after volunteers are signed up with a date to be announced. Plans are to begin construction in the spring.

About Homes for Our Troops

The organization was founded in 2004 by John Gonsalves.

Gonsalves was a construction supervisor in Raynham, Mass. After seeing a news story about a soldier who lost both of his legs in Iraq, he wondered what was being done to support these men and women who had sacrificed so much for this country.

He decided to make it his mission to provide specially adapted housing, modifying and retrofiting homes for injured servicemen.

The 501(c)3 accepts donations to help defray costs and relies on community volunteers to see the projects are completed.

How to volunteer

Anyone interested in helping with the project should go to

After volunteers sign up, a member of the production management crew will contact them with more information.

Volunteers are already coming forward. Archer said he has been contacted by people in neighboring counties, asking if they can help.

He also has had positive response from Marion and Marion County.

“The Marion community has been great,” Archer said. “I have never been treated more friendly. It has been a long time since I’ve been treated this warmly.”

“Volunteers don’t have to be skilled tradesman to help out,” Archer said. “There’s a place for each and every person.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2010