Build brigade to erect home in Havre de Grace for injured vet

Army Medic SSG Kelly Keck suffered a severe hand injury and lost his right leg while serving his first deployment to Afghanistan when an anti-personnel mine exploded Sept. 13, 2008. It was only through quick thinking on the part of Keck, who directed his platoon sergeant in treating his wounds, that he didn't lose his life.

When Keck returned home from Walter Reed Medical Center, however, he found that while he hadn't lost his life, he had lost much of his freedom. Living in a house not designed for the injured turned simple tasks, such as entering and leaving his home, into real challenges. Then, Keck learned about Homes for Our Troops, a national non-profit that builds homes for service members injured in combat operations.

The Build Brigade for SSG Kelly Keck has been scheduled for June 15-17 with opening ceremonies scheduled for Friday, June 15, at the home site at 3406 Old Level Road. Those interested in participating or visiting the location are being asked to park at the Level Firehouse at 3633 Level Village Road because Old Level Road will be closed throughout the weekend because of limited parking. Shuttles will be provided throughout the weekend for volunteer transportation.

Keck successfully applied to Homes for Our Troops and also received a Veterans Administration Specially Adapted Housing Grant. Now, the national nonprofit organization Homes for Our Troops is planning to build a house designed to accommodate Keck's needs and comfortably house him, his wife and their daughter – all at no cost to Keck.

The foundation for the house was poured and prepared during the week of June 6. Homes for Our Troops will be holding a three-day "build brigade" from June 15-17 in Havre de Grace. During those three days, volunteers will frame, side and roof the house, as well as install doors and windows. The interior and finishing work of the house will be completed in the months that follow.

Homes for Our Troops has built more than 100 homes for service members permanently disabled in combat operations since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The homes are financed by individual and corporate donations of funds and building materials and constructed with the aid of volunteers. Information on volunteering for Homes for Our Troops is available at

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