Disaster One Purple Heart Home

When Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris patrolled the fields and woods of Afghanistan he willingly accepted the possibility of being wounded or killed while serving his country. But he refused to dwell on it – or even think about it – other than to make sure he was careful in everything he did.

Harris was severely wounded in an ambush on Echo Company’s 2nd platoon in 2009 just before his tour was to finish. His injuries left him unable to walk without the assistance of a walker and unable to continue his career as a Marine. His story was chronicled in the 2011 documentary film Hell and Back Again.

When he returned home to North Carolina, the challenges continued.

“It’s almost more difficult than (being in Afghanistan) to be home and be stressed,” Harris admitted in the film. In fact, the stress took such a huge toll in his personal life that he found himself addicted to painkillers and eventually separated from his wife and living with friends.

A Home for Sgt. Harris

That’s when Crescent Rotary Club, who was looking for a service project to commemorate its 50th anniversary, heard about Harris. They wanted specifically to provide a home for a disabled veteran. The club teamed up with Purple Heart Homes, an organization dedicated to providing housing for service-connected disabled veterans.

Disaster One came alongside Crescent Rotary and numerous organizations to prepare a home for Sgt. Harris (the plaque below recognizes the project’s sponsors). Through donations of time, services, furniture, and building materials, a foreclosed house was transformed into an obstacle-free home. Disaster One served as the general contractor for the home renovation and oversaw all of the work done. In addition, through the generosity of Elrod Electrical Services, Air Quality Heating and Cooling, and Pronto Plumbing and Gas all of the electrical, HVAC and plumbing work was donated to the project.

On Veterans Day 2013 volunteers, sponsors, and media gathered to watch Sgt. Harris accept the keys to his new home.

“I don’t think there’s any way to figure out how to be thankful enough,” Harris told onlookers.

Disaster One's Ras Fenger and Sgt. Harris

Disaster One’s Ras Fenger congratulates Sgt. Harris

Later that evening Harris showed off his home to local WFMY-TV viewers. “It has a lot of space. They’ve redone everything, widened everything for easy access. We have brand new floors, walls, paint…everything, really.”

“It was an honor for us to participate alongside the many other contributors and volunteers who made this renovation possible for Sgt. Harris,” said Disaster One’s president Ras Fenger.

“The most important thing is we helped a veteran get into a home.”

Disaster One Purple Heart Home Plaque

Plaque installed in front of the Purple Heart Home of Sgt. Nathan Harris

 

See more of the story from Greensboro’s News & Record.