Saturday, December 16, 2006

Philly OEF Veteran Gets a House...

...and this is no hand-me-down. It's a sweet house complete with a huge flat screen TV, a hot tub and a laptop. He earned it -and he deserves it. I wish all returning combat veterans could be afforded this reward...

Army Sgt. Pisay Tan's mother was a Cambodian refuge and Tan wanted to repay this country for taking her in during the Vietnam War by serving himself.

Tan served in Operation Enduring Freedom and even after hours of surgery and rehabilitation, and losing both legs...the 25-year-old says he still believes no sacrifice is too big and describes his service as "the perfect opportunity."

"... U.S. Army Sgt. Pisey Tan is now officially a Ridley resident, thanks to what is likely the largest, best-decorated present anyone in the county will receive this year. Tan joined his brother, Dara, and mother, Bo Mao, with hundreds of others Thursday for the official unveiling of his new home: a two-story single house on Youngs Avenue built specifically to Tan’s needs by general contractor the McKee Group Inc., and non-profit organization Homes For Our Troops.

Tan, of the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armored Regiment, lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq last August, but as his Army buddy Todd Bussard, of Atlanta, said, Tan never showed any bitterness or anger.

Tan has been an inspiration to all who speak of him, including McKee Group President Frank McKee, who considers Tan his personal hero.

"He is a treasure, this young man," McKee told the group gathered under tents on Youngs Avenue Thursday. "He served all of us and now we get the wonderful opportunity to serve and do something for somebody who did so much for us."

Groundbreaking took place on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and construction followed at a break-neck pace with help from hundreds of volunteers and organizations.

"It took unbelievably generous donations of time, labor, material and money from many subcontractors and charitable contributors to make this home a reality," said McKee. "I’m very proud to stand before you representing this group of people who would put their heart and soul into building a house for a young man who gave his heart and soul to defend his country. Our goal and our hope is that people see this from around the country and other builders help out fellow veterans and take care of them the way we have for Pisey. That’s the best thing that could happen. It is our dream." (source)

You can watch the video here.

Hats off to McKee Group Builders who have started a "HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS" project. I really hope more builders follow suit. It sounds like Sgt. Tan was a wonderful first recipient!

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