Illinois National Guard


 
15 Apr 2014
Public Affairs Office
New home, groundbreaking ceremony for wounded Illinois Army National Guard Soldier

MORTON, Ill. – After receiving a building permit last week, Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat for Heroes program, held a groundbreaking ceremony in Morton, Ill., April 12, where Sgt. Brian Wood of Peoria, Ill., and his family will reside in their new house.            

The house should be built no later than September 2014. LeaAnne Schmidgall, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, said the Wood family completed a lengthy acceptance process, but everything just fit.  It just came together, she said.            

Wood enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2003, serving on active duty for 10 years, receiving two bronze stars over multiple deployments. He is now a member of the Illinois Army National Guard and serves with Company A, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry in Bartonville, Ill.             

Originally, the house was to be built of wood; however, the neighborhood houses were built with brick.  The community came together and donated brick for the project.  With the amount of brick donated, the family will have a new home made entirely of brick.             

“God set aside this lot for Brian and Julie and that’s why the lot is still available,” said Schmidgall. “With the amount of brick that was donated for the Wood’s home, all of the houses built this year will have some brick in them.”            

More than 200 people came to witness the groundbreaking, to include the mayor of Morton and Congressman Aaron Schock of the 18th Congressional District, who is the “master sponsor” for the first Habitat for Humanity Greater Peoria Area Veteran’s Build.             

 “This family is easy to support.  They have been residents of Peoria until now,” said Schock. “Give them not a ‘hand-out’, but a ‘leg-up’, which is what Habitat for Heroes is all about.”            

Ron Rainson, the mayor of Morton welcomed the Wood family with a gift and a few short words.  This project has enlightened the community to veteran’s issues, which is the focal point of Habitat for Heroes, said Rainson.            

The Wood family is overwhelmingly thankful to be a part of this project and to be chosen for a home that will be spacious enough for them and their three children.

After Wood’s deployment, he attended counseling at the veteran’s center. Throughout counseling Wood explained his current living situation, which is when the counselor informed him about the veteran housing center. He contacted Habitat for Humanity where he applied to be a recipient of a new home. The family went through an extensive background check and multiple interviews. After acceptance, the couple must also complete 250 hours each, helping build other houses.

“We will have enough space for our three children,” said Wood.  “At first, we thought it was too good to be true, but we are very grateful.”

 



(Left to right) Ron Rainson, mayor or Morton, Congressman Aaron Schock of the 18th Congressional District, Sgt. Brian Wood of Peoria, Ill., his wife Julie and their daughters are breaking the ground where their new home, built by Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat for Heroes program, will stand in September of this year in Morton, Ill., April 12. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Aleah M. Castrejon, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs)

Sgt. Brian Wood of Peoria, Ill., and his wife Julie say a few words to thank the community and sponsors, in Morton, Ill., April 12, for the groundbreaking ceremony, where their new home, built by Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat for Heroes program, will stand in September of this year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Aleah M. Castrejon, Illinois National Guard Public Affairs)