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Rail Gunners volunteer to help disabled veteran

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Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 4:30 am

MORGAN’S POINT RESORT — Despite the cloud cover and the threat of rain, 22 soldiers from the 41st Fires Brigade, known as the “Rail Gunners,” met at lot 14 on Key Wish Drive in Morgan’s Point Resort, to help a fellow brother-in-arms by adding the finishing touches to his new home, Sept. 15.

In all, approximately 55 soldiers from across Fort Hood gave their time to assist a fellow service member. Soldiers of all ranks — privates, sergeants and officers alike, gave up their Saturday morning to help former Marine Staff Sgt. Jack Pierce.

The soldiers lay patches of sod, planted trees, bushes and flowers in front of the newly constructed home provided to Pierce, who was paralyzed from the chest down after his vehicle drove over a 300-pound bomb in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Jan. 9, 2010, through the Homes for Our Troops program. The house was built to allow Pierce the freedom of movement allowing him to live more independently.

The building of the house began June 15 and the yard was the last step in the project. The homes that are provided by Homes for Our Troops are given at no cost to disabled veterans.

“It’s a warm feeling, knowing that soldiers from my unit would come out here to donate their time to help someone else,” said 1st Lt. Annemarie McCreight, an executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade. “To come out and lend a hand to help him live a better life outside of the uniform is easy motivation to come out here,” said McCreight.

As the Rail Gunners offered a helping hand, the physical labor that finished the home also boosted the unit’s esprit de corps.

“Doing something outside of your normal duty will help bring a team together,” said 1st Sgt. Jeremy Hall, the first sergeant for the brigade’s Alpha Battery, 26th Field Artillery Regiment.

The soldiers from the 41st Fires Brigade received an equal-sized payout by knowing their time was used to help someone in need.

“It makes me feel good, helping others out,” said Spc. Steven Degonia, a heavy wheel mechanic, 589th Brigade Support Battalion.

The leaders within the brigade made a point to lend a helping hand. “I can’t ask these soldiers to give up some of their time to be out here if I’m not willing to give up some of my time,” said the brigade’s Command Sgt. Maj. Antonio Dunston.

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