Organizations partner to repair local Purple Heart veteran’s home

Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 7:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A heartwarming story unfolded as a local disabled Vietnam veteran was honored in a special way.

House of Heroes, in partnership with a Fort Benning group called Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, also called BOSS, made long-overdue house repairs to Purple Heart recipient and former Sergeant John McKinnon.

Rotten soffit and fascia, old painting, and a jaded aluminum carport are all things Purple Heart Veteran John McKinnon no longer has to worry about.

McKinnon served more than 20 years in the United States Army. He fought in the Vietnam War twice - in 1968 when he suffered near-fatal injuries and then again in 1970.

“I was there eight months and I got shot up pretty bad,” said McKinnon. He says 1968 was one of the toughest years for soldiers in Vietnam.

“In ‘68 - is when the Vietnamese made their big push,” he recalled. “You know, in other words, they thought they could kill us out or run us out. They called it the Tet Offensive. They threw everything they had at us in ‘68.”

The injuries he sustained from war now prevent him from making necessary repairs to his own home.

Now, he doesn’t have to. Hands-on help from active duty soldiers from Fort Benning and House of Heroes volunteers did the work instead.

The day was full of support from different organizations.

While the soldiers worked, the United Service Organization more commonly known as the USO, a military non-profit group, provided food.

“We decided to come out, get a breakfast station going - so, we have drinks for them for the rest of the day,” said USO Center Operations Specialist Vanessa Rangel.

“They have the USO’s support wherever they go - whether it’s here in the United States or out of the country,” said USO Center Operations Manager Sarah Bostic.

Another organization, the 492 Military Order Purple Heart Association, offered their support in a different way.

“We are here to give a donation to the House of Heroes for their participation with the Purple Heart Association,” said Allen Gibson.

To give public recognition to McKinnon and conclude the day’s work, a flag ceremony was held.

House of Heroes is always accepting donation and volunteers. You can sign up here.

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