Local Residents Invited to be a Part of a Very Special Ceremony in Santa Rosa Beach on April 6th
Santa Rosa Beach, FL. (April 3, 2013) – Building Homes for Heroes is proud to announce a homecoming celebration to welcome Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale to his new home at 73 Pelican Bay Drive off of East Mack Bayou Road in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida on Saturday, April 6th at 10:30 a.m. Joining in the celebration will be high-ranking military personnel, members of the construction team, local dignitaries, community members, corporate sponsors, civic organizations, friends and family, etc. The general public is encouraged to attend this unique event.
Final preparations are being made for an anticipated large crowd. Parking with shuttle service to the home site will be available. Those in attendance will witness the Hale family arrive as a part of a patriotic procession to their new home. The residence will be open to tours and refreshments will be served.
In December of 2011, Staff Sergeant Hale, an EOD technician, was severely injured in Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated. Every bone is SSG Hale’s face was broken; he suffered severe burns, and was left completely blind. He served a tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan. SSG Hale’s unit completed 1,110 counter-IED missions, destroying more than 20,000 pounds of enemy explosives. SSG Hale, a Purple Heart recipient, estimates he disabled as many as 50 explosive devices during his last tour in Afghanistan.
SSG Hale, his wife, Kelly, and their four children, Sheldon, Bailey, McKenzie, and Cameron will be moving into a beautiful newly renovated, mortgage-free home provided by Chase Bank. The home has been extensively modified by award-winning general contracting company Randy Wise Homes, Inc. specifically to meet SSG Hale’s needs. Randy Wise Homes, the most recent builder to join the Building Homes for Heroes construction team, was recently selected for inclusion in the Southern Living Magazine’s exclusive Custom Builder Program. "It's our turn to give back and we are honored to be associated with this project. Not only is this a great gift for the Hale family, it is also a great opportunity for the community to be a part of something so special.” Randy Wise, President and Owner of Randy Wise Homes, Inc. said recently.
In addition to the home, Building Homes for Heroes will provide SSG Hale and his family with mentoring and other support over the next two years to ensure that they are successful homeowners and establish a solid foundation for the future. Funding for the mentorship is provided by Chase and other generous donors.
ABOUT BUILDING HOMES FOR HEROES: Building Homes for Heroes, Inc. recognizes the tremendous sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled soldiers and their families. It is a national organization committed to supporting these brave men and women with a goal to build homes for families in dire need. This is one of 15 homes in the state of Florida and one of 30 nationally that Building Homes for Heroes plans to gift in 2013.
For more information on this celebration, please call 516-684-9220 or visit the organization’s website at www.BuildingHomesForHeroes.org.
Hero Story: Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale – Hero Story
In December of 2011, Kelly Hale received a horrifying late night knock on her door; the one that every spouse of a deployed soldier dreads. Her husband had been severely wounded, and his prognosis was uncertain. The men in uniform who informed her of her husband's incident stayed by Kelly's side for hours and she waited for updates on SSG Aaron Hale's condition. She was unsure whether or not her husband would survive. The lives of the family had suddenly changed forever.
SSG Hale, of the 760th EOD (explosive ordinance disposal), had 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 his injuries concluded that he is completely blind. SSG Hale's skull was cracked and leaking spinal fluid, his carotid artery was nearly severed with shrapnel piercing it, both eardrums were completely blown out, his sinuses were crushed, and his nostrils were torn. Despite suffering severe injuries and being left sightless, SSG Hale, who landed on his hands and knees after being sent airborne, felt to see if all his limbs were intact, and then got up and tried to find his way back to his unit. A medevac unit arrived 10 minutes later, and SSG Hale passed out.
When his wife first saw him, he was unrecognizable. His face and head were swollen beyond belief, he was bloodied, and the cuts and burns were horrendous. Thankfully, SSG Hale's long-term prognosis was good. After a month at Walter Reed, and two weeks at the Veterans Hospital in Tampa, he was sent to the to a VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia which specializes in blind rehabilitation.
Just when it appeared that the worst was over, Kelly's life took an unexpected turn as she settled her family in at The Augusta CNVAMC Fisher House, a home away from home for families of military service members. A resident at the Fisher House noticed a lesion on Kelly's collarbone and insisted she get it checked out. Before she knew it, she was being told by doctors that surgery would be performed hours later. The result was melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Her cancer was at Stage II.
Kelly was numb. Her thoughts immediately went to her husband and her four children. Her youngest child hasn't reached the age of two. Three surgeries later, Kelly is in remission, but she still faces numerous tests and may need additional surgical procedures.
She sees her husband's injury as an example of divine direction. If not for SSG Hale being severely injured in Afghanistan, she would have been dressed for the brutal winter at Fort Drum, NY, just miles from the border of Canada, and her lesion would not have been seen.