By Holly Wise

The Cove Herald

When a fellow soldier has a backyard that needs to be cleared, men and women with chainsaws and woodchippers come running.

Sgt. Chris Craft, 35, watched as 70 people bustled around his

backyard last week as part of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, Warrior Transition Brigade's Make a Difference Day.

"I don't think they realize how much of a help this is," Brittany, Craft's wife, said. "It's stress off Chris' back."

"What you see is 50 percent of these soldiers out here are wounded warriors helping another soldier," Capt. Malcolm Wilson said.

Craft was critically injured March 13, 2008, in an explosion involving three roadside bombs in Iraq. He is set to medically retire from the Army in December after 16 years of service.

"This is just showing Chris he's appreciated," Brittany, 23, said. "It makes me happy to see him happy."

With his wife's arms wrapped around his waist, Craft leaned on his cane and watched the beehive of activity in his back yard.

"That helps tremendously," Craft said, gesturing to the stacks of cedar firewood and branches being fed into the chipper.

The Crafts are now able to enjoy the view of the valley from their back porch.

"To have other people acknowledge him ... I think it's opened his eyes to him that maybe he did do something good," she said. "In my eyes he is my hero. He is my best friend."

Joining in the volunteer effort were regional Baxter Healthcare employees.

Baxter's Regional Sales Manager Nancy Burton said her company contacted Fort Hood, looking for an opportunity to help.

"They allowed us to come and pitch in," she said. "Our organization is very, very supportive of volunteering especially as it relates to the U.S. troops."

Baxter Healthcare employee Roger Schneider was in charge of cooking lunch for everyone on a smoker donated for the event by the Copperas Cove chapter of the Legacy Outfitters, a Christian men's group.

"To me it's phenomenal," fellow employee Tom McGee said. "It's giving back to the service men and women that have sacrificed themselves that we can be free today."

Contact Holly Wise at or (254) 501-7474.

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