Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Darryl Wallace is getting his life back on track these days and renewing his faith.
Wallace also will soon be moving into a new home built for him and his family in the Ansley Place subdivision of Harlem.
His new brick house is a project by Homes for Our Troops, a Massachusetts-based national organization aimed at helping military double-amputees.
The 2,100-square-foot home, which is being built by Evans-based Chris Evans Construction Co., is funded through donations from area businesses.
"It feels good to be a part of something as special as this is for this family," said Evans. "We're glad to be a part of it."
It takes a lot of materials and labor to make such a project become a reality.
One such businessman involved in the project is Anthony Pool, the owner of Pool Heating and Air Conditioning in Thomson.
"It feels good to give back to the community and to do something special for Sgt. Wallace and his family," said Pool, who grew up in Harlem.
Without those donations, such projects would not be possible, said Brian Reed, who is overseeing the project for Homes for Our Troops.
"We rely on the help of others to help us get these homes built for our wounded veterans," said Reed.
The new home in Columbia County is the group's 42nd in the United States since the organization was founded in 2004. It is only the second for a wounded veteran and his family in Georgia. The first one was built in Douglasville.
Wallace, a McDuffie County native and graduate of Thomson High School, was wounded during a June 2007 attack on his armored vehicle in Afghanistan. He lost both legs and received multiple other serious injuries.
Wallace said he realizes how close he came to death.
"I just appreciate my life so much more, now," Wallace said. "I realize how blessed I am to be here, and I thank God that I am."
Wallace also is thankful to those building his new home.
"This is such a blessing to have a new home being built for me and my family," he said. "I can't think of anything to say about what all of these people are doing for me and my family except to say, 'Thank you.' It feels like I'm getting my life back again."
His wife, Tiffany, is equally excited about the changes coming for the family and their 4-year-old son, Chase.
"I appreciate so much what everybody has done for us," she said.
The family, which lived in a single-wide mobile home before Wallace's deployment, is now housed at Fort Gordon until they move into their new home.
The Wallace family also has received an abundance of support from soldiers at Fort Gordon -- many of whom volunteered to work on the home during a recent three-day session.
"It is also one of our core values, never leave a fallen comrade," said Fort Gordon Sgt. Major Tom Clark, who visited the site April 24.
Clark said that giving back to the community is encouraged.
While U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Elemenia Malone and several soldier volunteers were working on the home, a van pulled up, bringing in more soldiers to help.
"We wanted to do something special for Sgt. Wallace, because he's a fellow soldier," Malone said. "This was strictly a volunteer mission, and we received so much response. I think it's great."
Sgt. Maj. Victor Fernandez of the 447th Signal Battalion said 10 soldiers from each unit volunteered their services.
"My primary purpose for coming out was to show our young soldiers how we can help a fellow battle buddy," Fernandez said. "I wanted to show them that we still look after our own and that they are now part of that brotherhood."
George Guthrie, of Appling, who heads up a group of military veterans with American Legion Post No. 192, also brought several volunteers to assist in building the Wallace home.
Other groups assisting in the building effort, or supporting volunteers, were Red Oak Manor, Columbia County Community Connections and Whole Life Ministries, where, the Wallaces attend church.
"We're here because it's the right thing to do," Guthrie, who served in both the Air Force and Army, said. "We want to show Darryl and his family our support."
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