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is a non—proﬁt
free homes to
from Iraq and
Afghanistan and the
widows of the fallen
in an effort to get
their lives back on
track and become
members of their
Dan Wallrath has been selected as one of CNNs top 10
Heros of the Year. You can Help Dan by clicking on the
link and voting. If Dan wins Operation FINALLY
HOME will receive $100,000.00 to continue building
homes for our War Wounded!
httpzl / heroes. cnn. com/ vote. aspx
Cl| | HEROES
EVERYDAY PEOPLE CHANGING THE WORLD
or THE WEEK
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Dan Wallrath, giving wounded veterans a place to call home is his
way of saying thanks. Since 2005, his organization Has 12 homes
completed or under construction and 10 in the works, and he's
expanding his idea into a national campaign called Operation
Finally Home. Wallrath spent 30 years making upscale clients’
dream houses a reality. But he found a new mission in 2005 when he
met with Steve Schulz about a very different type of project. Finally
With donations from suppliers and contractors, Wallrath said, the
group can build a $300,000 house for $25,000 to $50,000. Each house
is customized to meet the needs of each family and is mortgage-free.
The group also covers the taxes and insurance for two years.
Wounded veterans or their spouses often have to ﬁnd a new ca-reer
or go back to school, making it hard to make ends meet, Wallrath
said. "If you can alleviate a ﬁnancial burden off these young kids
where they can concentrate on rebuilding their lives, you can really
make a difference, Dan is determined to help as many families as he
can. He's trying to enlist builders‘ associations across the country to
join his crusade, with the goal of building 100 homes. His program
got tremendous interest at an industry event in January, and it soon
hopes to break ground on a house near Chicago, the ﬁrst outside of
Texas Considering the industry was hard-hit by the recession, Dan
says he's been heartened by the response. Now retired, Dan Wallrath
dedicates about half of his time to this effort without pay. He says it's
the least he can do to repay some of the more than 30,000 troops
who've been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 3
Disabled American Veterans Awarded Home
Sgt Jorge De Leon, a disabled American veteran from the
Afghan war, was chosen by Operation FINALLY HOME and the
Texas Sentinels Foundation to be the recipient of a mortgage free
home in the Las Brisas community. The home is being built by
Tilson Homes on an acreage homesite in Las Brisas at Ensenada
Shores, a lakeside development of Warner Group Inc. at Canyon
Lake, Texas. Presentation of the De Leon home will take place on
December 3rd 2010 at 10:30am. Pleasejoin us to welcome Sgt De
Leon and his family ﬁnally home.
: HOME conrovunou
Thank you to the following donors in the ,
building of Sgt Jorge De Leon’: Family Home! , » , . ¢E]j—_‘, '~‘m
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Johnny Wilson, Sergeant, United States Army (ret)l
What an amazing adventure this has been for the Wilson family.
Johnny was chosen by Operation FINALLY HOME, Texas Sentinels
Foundation, and WBAP (News/ Talk 820AM/96.7FM) to be the
a recipient of a mortgage free home in Arlington, Texas. They visit the
site every chance they get to write scriptures on the beams that will
soon be their New Home, with the help of Sierra Custom Homes we
are looking for a completion date sometime before the Holidays.
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 PAGE 4
Nape & Blue Green Communities provide a Foundation for Wounded Service Members
GUNTER, TX -- Thanks to Operation FINALLY HOME, NAPE EXPO & Blue Green
Communities, ﬁve wounded war heroes and their families are being given their dream home in
Texoma. Deeda Payton was in Gunter, Texas where she spoke to two of the families who just
learned where their new homes will be located.
Operation FINALLY HOME honors wounded and disabled veterans and widows of fallen
soldiers with new homes. For many families, it's the beginning of the rest of their lives and the
backdrop of a lifetime of memories. "I understand how hard it is to adapt after coming back
from combat, but to come back with a severe injury where it cripples the whole family and you
spend two and half years in a hospital to recover then be told you can't get a mortgage because
you have no job from what you've just recovered from. It's not acceptable to me, " said Daniel
Vargas, Executive Director of Operation FINALLY HOME.
Sgt. Levi Wilson, Jr. and his wife Katie of Fort Worth, TX are one of ﬁve families who have been
given land and their own custom-built home to help transition into civilian life. "It's a shock. We
were very very blown away. Extremely excited. Overwhelming, " said. Sgt. Wilson.
The Wilson's new home will be in the Bridges at Preston Crossing, a new community in Gunter,
Texas. "They'll have a house, they'll be in a wonderful community and they'll be able to start a
foundation which is what America was built on and obviously as they build a family they're just
going to have an incredible starting point, " said Dan Koscher the CEO of Bluegreen
Communities which is the development company that started the bridges.
Wounded veteran Sgt. Alan Hornaday of Fordyce, AR will also be moving into the bridges
community. He too has been surprised with a new home. "I'm excited about it. I mean the drive
up it's just the perfect place it's what we've pretty well dreamed of, " said Hornaday.
Organizers of operation FINALLY HOME say it's the least they can do to give back to our heroes
of war. "A 300-thousand dollar home is in no way a means to pay-back what they've sacriﬁced
and given us, " said Vargas.
Bridges‘ Developer, Bluegreen Communities, is providing the land and the home. Operation
FINALLY HOME was started by Houston's Bay Area Builders Association and is sponsored by
the NAPE EXPO, the world's largest oil and gas exposition.
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Alan Horanby, Sergeant First Class US Army ( ret ) Toby “Levi” Wilson Sergeant, United States Army ( ret )
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
THE LATEST NEWS AFFECTING YOU
Nonproﬁt readies new house
for airman who lost legs
By Michele Tan
m‘. aMT/ lwlllzfyllnlrs com
IN IIAIIIFEIS, lens — It was a
moment made for reality TV: A
crowd had gathered at an upscale
housing development here. just
before the unsuspect-
ing couple arrived.
It didn't take long for
Senior Airman Colton
Read and his wife, Jes-
sica, to ﬁgure out what
Opﬁlallﬂﬂ Finally Home
pen. “ said Jessica Read. who
tumed 22 the day before. ‘This is
Operation Finnlly Home. a non-
proﬁt that honors wounded and
disabled troops. veterans and fam-
ilies of fallen service
members with new
homes, had been
working to get a
house for the couple.
Jessica Read said.
was going on. Their
eyes ﬁlled with bears.
Home had selected
Read, who lost his legs
alter routine surgery to
remove his gallbladder
went horribly wrong. to
receive a dream home
that will be built on
wo'ks lo nmwde new homes
Ior wounded and dzsabled
Hoops, veterans and lamllles
or lallen semce members
For Cotton and . less: ca
Read. men 1 I7-acre lol III the
Vintage Oaks at the Vineyard
cummmly was donated
by developer Biliegveen
Comrnunznes lne Raids WIII
“But they kept say-
ing. ‘We're trying. but
no promises, " she
said. “Yesterday was
my birthday and they
called and said, ‘Let's
go look at lots some-
where to maybe build
a home. but no
1.17 acres in the heart now work will JlmmyJacoD$ Operation Finally
of Texas Hill Country. Custom Horreslo bunldlheu Home pulled off the
‘It was unbelievable, " dream house perfect surprise.
Read said as he sat in a lo learn more aooul “We're very blessed. ”
wheelchair and looked Operation Finally Home. Jessica Read said.
at the lot where the
house will be built. “I
didn't picture this at
all. It's beautiful here. I
couldn't ask for more. "
The Reads were kept in the dark
about the reason for their 45-
rninute drive Sept. 29 from their
home in San Antonio, where Read
is receiving physical therapy at
Brooke Army Medical Center.
“I never thought this would hap-
VlS| l www babasupporl are
To see were Inc Read:
will call home, VISII
www VIDIBQCOBKSIEXBS com
Colton Read added:
“It hasn't sunk in
yet. It‘s so much to
For the 22-year-old
airman. the journey has been long
An intelligence specialist who
analyzed full-motion video from
MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9
Reapers ﬂying over Iraq and
Afghanistan, Read decided to fol-
Air Force Times
DInl(oocbor. pvuIdaitaodC£0otBtiognouGomnnltiu. aodDaoWaIrItlI,
louodorotopu-d| onFhulyltonn. sh1nISuiorAinunColtouhodvrbonhls
low the advice of Air Force sur-
geons to have his gallbladder
removed to stop his stomach pain.
He was told that if he didn't opt for
the elective surgery, he wouldn't
On July 9, 2009. Read was
admitted into David Grant Med-
ical Center at Travis Air Force
But the surgery went wrong
almost immediately, according to a
into the events ofthat day.
The surgeon nicked Road's
aorta. the body's largest artery.
Doctors rushed to stop the bleed-
ing, but by the time Read was
wheeled out of the operating room
he was stable but had lost an esti-
mated 3% liters of blood.
As the minutes and hours went
by, medical staff began to notice
Reads legs were blue and they had
trouble ﬁnding a pulse in his feet.
Doctors began nmning tests and
debating whether to transfer Read
to another hospital. one with a
vascular surgeon on stall.
By the time Read was moved to
the University of California-Davis
Medical Center, about 40 miles
north of David Grant, it was past
5 p. m., more than eight hours
since his surgery.
Doctors at UC. Davis repaired
Road's aorta and restored blood
flow to his legs. Under the pres-
sure of the returning blood.
Read's legs swelled and circula-
tion stopped at his knees because
the tissue below was already
In the early morning hours of
July 10, 2009, doctors amputated
Read‘s legs to save his life. Now,
his left leg ends above the knee
and his right leg at mid-thigh.
Read is still on active duty while
he continues to undergo physical
therapy and rehabilitation. He
anticipates beginning the medical
evaluation board process in the
next month or two.
October 11, 2010
A . .v
The Reads will live In New
Braunlels. 45 minutes lrom the
rehab lacillty in San Antonio.
For Dan Wallrath, founder of
Operation Finally Home. it didn‘t
matter that Colton Read wasn't
wounded in the war zone.
‘My first reaction was disbe-
lief. ” Wallrath said. “I couldn't
believe anything could go that
wrong. IColton Readl wanted to go
overseas and ﬁght for us and the
only way he could do that was the
surgery. Wejust felt it didn't make
a difference ifhe got blown up by a
bomb or what happened. "
Wallrath. a custom home-
builder for 30 years, founded
Operation Finally Home in 2005
when a friend whose son was
wounded in Iraq needed help
remodeling his home to accommo-
date his son's needs.
“The dad showed me before and
after pictures of his son and it
broke my heart. " Wallrath said. “It
become real to me. This is not an
isolated case. but thousands of
families are dealing with this with
no help. ”
Since the Houston-based organi-
zation‘. -I creation in 2005, it has l2
houses completed or under con-
struction and another 10 in the
works. Wallrath said.
‘Very few people get to experi-
ence this once in their lifetime. " he
said. “I get to do this for a living.
I'm so blessed. "
The house that will be built for
Colton and Jessica Read at the
new development, called Vintage
Oaks at the Vineyard, is more
than just a house. said Dan Var-
gas. executive director of Opera-
tion Finally Home.
‘This is going to give them their
life back, ‘ he said. ‘No matter
what happens, they'll always have
a roof over their heads. ” D
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
Do not shed tears when I have gone
but smile instead because I have lived.
Do not shut your eyes and pray to God that I’ll come back
but open your eyes and see all that I have left behind.
I know your heart will be empty because
you cannot see me
but still I want you to be full of the love we shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live only for
yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of
what happened between us yesterday.
You can remember me and grieve that I have gone or you
can cherish my memory and let it live on.
You can cry and lose yourself become distraught
and turn your back on the world or you can do what I want
- smile, wipe away the tears, learn to love again and go on.
*1 can't go on. I must go on. I'll go on.
"" -David Harkin
Lo 0 K M O O N *Line taken from Samuel Beckett's novel ‘The Unnameable. '
Christopher LeBleu, Corporal, United States Marine Corps
(March 18, 1982 - August 13, 2007)
Chris join the Marines in August 2003. Chris served in OII-' II with the 3rd
Battalion 7th Marines India Co. out of 29 Palms, CA. After his battle in
Iraq Chris safely returned home was married and moved to his duty
station at 29 Palms, CA. Three short months after his wedding Chris went
into acute liver failure. He fell into a coma while waiting for a donor liver
to match. Five days after being admitted to the critical care unit at Loma
Linda University Medical Center, Chris received a MTl0mﬂ‘LYH
donated liver. Chris‘ transplant was successful, but ‘:5 g 0:”
soon after, other complications occurred. ; 1 Y2 U 1,
On August 13, 2007, Christopher LeBleu passed
away due to ongoing complications that occurred due
to his illness. Chris is survived by his loving wife
We would like to dedicate this issue to the Memory of
Corporal Chris LeBleu, United States Marine Corp.
, tvrarmr-: zrssrnr
Support Our Troops
Operation FINALLY HOME
invites you to join our
2nd Annual Black Tie Gala
Raising Funds To Build Homes
For America ’s Injured
Service Men & Women
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Cocktails begin at 6:30pm
Dinner & Entertainment
at 7:30 pm
on Clear Lake
3101 Nasa Parkway,
Seabrook, TX 7 7586
$160.00 For a Couple
S85 .00 Per Person
Cindy Schoening To
Purchase Tickets & RSVP
Phone: 832-816-2640 or Email:
baba. cschoening@gmail. com
There will be a live and
silent auction taking
place during the
evening to raise funds
to build more homes
for our injured service
men and women.
We ask that you please bring a new unwrapped gift for the United States Marine Corps Reserve
Toys For Tots drive beneﬁtting the needy children of Texas.
VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops
OPERATION FINALLY HOME
Requests the pleasure of your company
at the home presentation to
Jorge De Leon, Sergeant, U. S. Army (retired)
on Friday, third of December
Las Brisas at Ensenada Shores
753 Caballo Trail
Canyon Lake * Texas 78133
RSVP by November 26th
baba. cschoening@gmail. com
"Building Homes for America's War Wounded"