Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wounded Soldier From Eagle Mountain, Utah Gets More Than Just Yellow Ribbons And Stale Cookies; SFC Gordon Ewell Gets A New Home For Free


The young and growing Utah Lake of community of Eagle Mountain, Utah, which makes the news more often for political corruption than anything else, made some good news this past week. They showed real gratitude towards one of our soldiers who got wounded in Iraq.

But this is not unusual. Eagle Mountain has a tradition of welcoming home its returning veterans. But the community didn't just welcome Gordon Ewell (pictured above, wearing the helmet) back to town. It welcomed him to his new house. At a ceremony on Friday May 30th, Ewell, his wife, Terra, and their six children were handed the key to their new house on Weeping Cherry Lane. Everything, from the land to the construction of the house to the furniture inside, was donated. The home was built to accommodate the disabilities Ewell faces as a result of his service in Iraq. Read the full story in the Provo Daily Herald.

At the ceremony, Ewell said it has been a longtime dream of his to be a homeowner, a dream he does not think he would have ever reached because of his disabilities were it not for Alta Vista Homes and Homes For Our Troops. He thanked the community for its kindness and generosity.

"I only have one eye, but you don't need more than one eye to see all the kindness and love in this community. I want to say thank you very, very much," Ewell told the hundreds of people gathered in front of his new home. He then raised the Stars and Stripes in his front yard, a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol and which was presented to him by Utah's Third District Congressman Chris Cannon.

How did Ewell lose the eye? He spent a year in Iraq clearing roadside bombs as a sergeant first class in the Army's 115th Engineer Battalion. During his service, Ewell's vehicle was hit six times by improvised explosive devices, and the cumulative effect left him with a brain injury and one eye. He walks with a cane, and is expected to need a wheelchair within a year.

And this is no shack that he's moved into, or even a modular home. It is a top of the line conventional home, fully equipped with ramps and wide hallways to help Ewell get around with his disabilities. The home was designed to be as low maintenance as possible.

Lehi-based Alta Vista Homes worked on the new home for more than a year. Alta Vista's Dave Hall said the company wanted to donate a home to an injured soldier in Utah County, and it put together a committee to find the ideal candidate. After they began the project they hooked up with Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization from Taunton, Mass., that provides specially adapted homes for severely wounded veterans. The group provided the $120,000 needed to buy the land in Eagle Mountain, as well as an additional $30,000 for materials. The total cost of the home to a family would normally be more than $500,000, Hall said, and every dollar was donated. Ewell himself said that he would never have been able to afford a home for his family if it hadn't been for this outburst of generosity.

Click HERE to find out how to donate to Homes For Our Troops.

Commentary: What a superb gesture. Alta Vista Homes clearly deserves to put at the TOP OF THE LIST for anyone who wants to buy a home in Northern Utah. And this charity, Homes For Our Troops, is an enterprise I've never heard of before. They need more publicity, more credit, and, if your funds permit, more donations.

This is real gratitude for service to our country. It beats the hell out of all these silly yellow ribbons and even the stale cookies sent out by "Treats For Troops" (they mean well, but stale cookies won't get our troops home safely). Bumper sticker patriotism won't convince the Federal government to live up to its responsibilities to our troops by properly staffing and funding the Veterans Administration so it can do what it's supposed to do. When VA providers are strong-armed into avoiding PTSD diagnoses on veterans to save the government money, we have a government that needs to be replaced.

Of course, it would have been nice if that sorry son-of-a-bitch Rocky Anderson would have showed up to pay his respects. In his hysterical knee-jerk antiwar speeches, he pontificates about how much he cares about the troops. It would have been nice had he showed up at this ceremony to back up his words. But perhaps on the other hand, it's probably good that he didn't, because he would have turned it into another bloviating antiwar diatribe. But the worst thing about Rocky is his association with the hard lefty traitors of MoveOn.org.

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