In December of 2011, SSG Aaron Hale, of the 760th EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), approached an IED which he had worked on from a distance using a robotic device. He was about 30 feet away when it exploded, sending shrapnel everywhere. Every bone in his face was broken, and he had severe burns to his face and upper thighs. His right eye was ripped out in the blast, his right eye lids were fused together from the severity of the burns, his left eye exploded leaving half in the socket, and his left eye lids were torn. Exploratory eye surgery to remove shrapnel and assess the extent of
On Saturday, September 11, 2010, the great people of Western New York came out to support the inaugural "Celebrate Our Heroes" dinner/dance at the Transit Valley County Club. All proceeds of the event will benefit non-profit organization Building Homes for Heroes and Army Specialist Brendan Marrocco of Staten Island, NY.
On May 16, 2011, Building Homes for Heroes held its 4th Annual New Jersey golf outing at the Battleground Country Club in Manalapan, NJ. The event was a record-breaker, raising $75,000 to support the severely wounded men and women of the military. Among those in attendance were Sergeant Mary Herrera – Arizona Army National Guard, Army Staff Sergeant William Castillo, Army Sergeant Joel Tavera, and Specialist Robert Jackson – Iowa Army National Guard, who attended with his wife Abby and daughters Brilynn and Hailey.
Army Sergeant Mary Herrera of the 855th Military Police Company of the Arizona National Guard, was wounded on November 8, 2003 near Fallujah. Herrera was the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon gunner for the lead Humvee in the platoon when her convoy was ambushed by rifle fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mines. She was struck by two AK-47 bullets in the ambush. Her platoon was on a trainee transportation mission to Abu Ghraib Prison near Ramadi, Iraq.
On October 1, 2005, Andy Pujol attended a fundraiser at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Lake City, Florida. The event was part of a grass roots effort to help Petty Officer Pete Herrick, a Naval Reservist, who was permanently injured in Iraq. For his efforts, Herrick has received numerous medals and awards, including The Purple Heart, Global War On Terrorism, Good Conduct, Expert Rifleman, National Defense, and the Navy and Marine Achievement Medal -- with Valor in combat.
Pete Herrick, a self-employed, highly-skilled carpenter, became a Naval Reservist in 2001, just six weeks prior to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. Herrick felt that joining the military as a Reservist would be a good way to supplement his income and would provide his wife and two children with additional financial security. He didn’t anticipate fighting America’s War on Terror.
Jason, wife Heather and three-year old daughter Naomi spent a week in New York this June, and attended the Building Homes for Heroes Golf Classic. Not only did Jason get to play 18 holes of golf at the beautiful Hempstead Golf and Country Club, but he was able to thank the people at ICAP for the $200,000 donation, which enabled the family to get their dream home in Primm Springs, Tennessee. The beautiful country home sits on 7.2 acres. The family moved into the home on June 1, 2006.
In 1995, New Jersey native, Jason Pepper, joined the United States Army. In December of the same year, Jason shipped off to Freidberg, Germany. Shortly after arriving in Germany, Jason and his unit, the 23 rd Eng Bn, was deployed to Bosnia where he and his fellow soldiers carried out a 12-month tour. That was Jason’s first experience in a hostile area and firefights. When Jason and his fellow soldiers returned from their deployment in Dec. 1996, they had a lot of down time. In January 1998, the 23rd Engineer Battalion (Eng Bn) re-flagged to the 16th Eng Bn.
On Saturday August 23, 2008, approximately 100 volunteers, many from the fire department of Holbrook, Long Island, participated in a groundbreaking ceremony and then put on their gloves and helmets, took out their hammers and crowbars, and proceeded to gut the home of injured Army Corporal Christopher Levi. This event marked the beginning of a renovation that will make Levi’s home handicap accessible upon his return.
In 2007, while on a mission to rescue Marines who were under attack, Army SSG Castillo’s vehicle was struck by an IED. Despite head trauma and numbing throughout his body, he courageously continued to fight. While under heavy enemy fire, he fought his way back to the vehicle in an attempt to save fellow soldiers.