A wounded Marine Corps combat engineer and his family are moving to Advance, where they will live in a home being built by Habitat for Humanity Boone County and the Homes for Wounded Warriors project, after he “fell in love” with the community during a March visit.
Sgt. Jesse James was injured during his third deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, Steve Furste, HHBC executive director said Wednesday, July 11.
It is the first Habitat for Humanity home to be built in Indiana expressly for a wounded veteran returning from combat, Furste said.
“We are really excited to be able to help a young soldier who has served his country and is coming back with an injury,” he said.
James was responsible for clearing routes for tactical convoys, including sweeping and searching for and destroying enemy explosives, Furste said. James suffered severe head trauma while trying to disarm an IED, Furste said. While he’s recovering at a hospital in southern California, James; his wife, Nicole; their two children, and his guide dog, Jag, will move into the home this September.
Furste said HHBC is working with the Homes For Wounded Warriors Program on the James home. Founded by Capt. Markus Trouerbach — who commands a detachment of the Communications Company of the Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, based at Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base — Homes for Wounded Warriors has built or is working on homes for three other injured veterans, in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and North Carolina.
After connecting with HWWP, Furste was able to bring James to Boone County in March.
“He loved it,” Furste said. “We thought he wanted a home in Lebanon, but these guys who have been hurt in combat really like peace and quiet.”
James liked the rural Advance lot. “That’s what he wanted,” Furste said.
“They are so excited to be coming here; they grew up in Iowa,” Furste said. “They have been so impressed by how helpful and friendly everyone has been to them.”
Work on the James home began last week, when temperatures hit at least 100 degrees four days in a row.
“It was a very difficult week,” Furste said. Ten to 12 volunteers completed the foundation, including excavation, pouring footers, laying brick and mixing concrete. “That’s hard work under normal conditions,” Furste said. “My hat really goes off to these brave men who got the job done; they truly are the heart and soul of Habitat for Humanity.”
The home’s floor was finished Wednesday, Furste said. “We’re going to start the walls Saturday morning.”
Volunteers are welcome. Workdays are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Lunch is being provided by area churches and served at the fire station in Advance.
“We are blessed to have the support of Advance Fire, Chief Jim Caldwell, and many Boone County churches,” Furste said.
Building the home “is a great way to say thank you for what James has done for all of us,” Furste said. “There are so many veterans living in and around Boone County, and we have had a great response from so many who want to help in some way.”
To volunteer or for more information, visit www.habitatboonecounty.org or call Furste at 313-6864.