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In a hurry to help a wounded Marine
House goes up in Stafford for wounded Marine

 Volunteers sign a banner for Sgt. Steven Kiernan as construction continues on a home for the wounded Marine.
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Date published: 5/8/2010


It wasn't your typical construction crew: men, women and children, skilled and unskilled, in white hard hats and brown T-shirts.

But at Lot 6, 52 Ashburn Hills Lane yesterday morning, they were all focused on one thing--building Marine Sgt. Steven Kiernan's house in a hurry.

Homes for Our Troops and Atlantic Builders, a local contractor, are working together to have the 2,600-square-foot house up and ready for drywall by tomorrow afternoon.

About 150 people, mostly volunteers and skilled tradesmen gathered at the lot off U.S. 17 in Stafford County yesterday morning as Kiernan arrived with a motorcycle escort.

Among the helpers were neighbors Gina and Marcus Narvaez and their daughters, Emily, 9, and Amy, 6.

"We just moved in the house on the corner. We were taking the kids for a walk and we saw the [Homes for Our Troops] signs," Gina said.

They called and found out that the nonprofit organization was holding one of its weekend Build Brigades down the street, and they wanted to help, passing out flyers in the neighborhood.

"We're working to make this a home for him, not just a house," she said. Marcus served in the Marines for 13 years; both now work as government contractors.

Atlantic Builders agreed to be the general contractor for the project and gathered electricians, plumbers, framers, roofers and other skilled workers--all of whom are donating their labor.

Chet Cary, owner of CC Carpentry in Stafford, said he wouldn't have missed it.

"We have a warm spot in our hearts for all solders. I want to be part of helping [Kiernan] get on his feet."

Cary's son, John, who has been deployed to the war zone twice, serves in the Army in Texas.

Jake Cornwell, owner of Southern Spotsylvania Plumbing, and his son, Jimmy, were also ready to work.

"We're all for it," Jake Cornwell said. "We do other stuff with wounded veterans. We'll do whatever it takes. About 10 of us will be here in the morning."

He added, "No one in the family that I know of has been in the military. I guess you could say we're the home support."

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Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit based in Taunton, Mass., assists severely injured service members and veterans by raising money, gathering building materials and enlisting professional labor. It coordinates the construction of new homes, or adapts existing ones, for handicapped accessibility.