“The average American is nothing if not patriotic.” ~ Herbert Croly
Traditionally, at certain times each year, we pause to acknowledge those who volunteer to serve our great nation at home and in faraway places. Statistically, North Carolina ranks third nationwide in terms of active and reserve military personnel. Men and women on deployment to Afghanistan represent one of the longest, all-volunteer military actions in recent history, some facing multiple deployments, and some returning with severe injuries that would have been fatal in years past. We call them heroes; but others call them Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, Husband, or Wife.
The American Hero Project began as a grassroots concept by a group of volunteers from the Pilot Mountain Baptist Association (PMBA) about four years ago. The basic question was, “How can we show veterans that we really care?” Through the vision of those early volunteers (Bill Ammons, Mike Brown, Bill Martin, Lois Martin, Jim Oakley, and Eddie West), the idea of building a home for a wounded veteran evolved and it is now nearing completion.
With the assistance of 89 churches located in five counties (Davie, Forsyth, Rockingham, Stokes, and Surry), teams of volunteers, local business and foundational support, and interested individuals, the home is now under roof with the final touchup work in process. Bill Ammons, one of the original visionaries, has headed up the construction efforts and looks forward to the day the home is formally dedicated and turned over to its new homeowner. “At the dedication, the resident will receive the keys to the home, a Bible, and an American flag to fly proudly from the front porch,” Bill stated.
During the construction of the home, a sign has been posted on the property, which reads, “Building a House for an American Hero.” Warren Steen, President of the Rye Foundation, shared that the Foundation is funding a playground for the new family to enjoy. He also mentioned in a recent newsletter that one incident stood out, illustrating the impact of the project on the community. A woman who had noticed the sign stopped by and made a contribution on the spot, stating, “My father served in the military, and I want to make a donation.”
Making the decision on who would be the new homeowner was no small undertaking. While the home was being built, a separate committee was tasked with reviewing the applications and conducting interviews. To qualify, an applicant must have been honorably discharged, wounded in action, and be in need of a home for their family. This “labor of love” tangibly illustrates what a dedicated group of volunteers can accomplish to honor an American hero.
The Rye Foundation is involved in other locally based projects such as the Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries, the Winston-Salem Street School, and Camp Merriwood in Clemmons.
For additional information on the Rye Foundation, visit their website (ryefoundation.org). For information on the American Hero Project and other projects sponsored by the Pilot Mountain Baptist Association, visit their website (PMBA.org). Volunteers are welcome!