With Veterans Day approaching, hundreds of neighbors, friends, family members, veterans and other supporters on Saturday cheered on Corporal Kevin Vaughan of the United States Marine Corps as he was presented with the key to a beautiful new house in his hometown of North Merrick. The presentation, led by Building Homes for Heroes CEO/Founder Andy Pujol, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Senior Councilman Anthony J. Santino, Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad and other officials took place during a festive home ceremony in front of the wounded veteran’s new home on Little Whaleneck Road.
Vaughan, who was seriously wounded while serving in Afghanistan as a member of the Third Battalion, 6thMarine Regiment, has been gifted the two-story Cape-Cod style home thanks to the efforts of Building Homes for Heroes and its brigade of volunteers, donors and supporters. Building Homes for Heroes, a national organization based in Valley Stream, has built and gifted hundreds of homes to wounded veterans across the nation, but the Vaughan residence is the first Town of Hempstead home to add to its impressive mantle of helping America’s heroes
The home ceremony in North Merrick kicked off Building Homes for Heroes’ four days of gifting homes across the nation in honor of Veterans Day on November 11th. After Saturday’s event in North Merrick, the organization will gift homes to wounded veterans in Arizona, Nevada and Florida.
“There’s no better way to start an amazing four-day journey than right in the heart of our hometown in the Town of Hempstead,” Pujol said. “We could not have become one of the nation's fastest-growing veteran's charities without our generous supporters, and the volunteers who are committed to helping us build homes for veterans, while rebuilding the lives of our nation’s heroes.”
“Corporal Vaughan is a true hero who courageously put his life on the line to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans,” Murray said.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of Andy Pujol and his wonderful team at Building Homes for Heroes, this incredibly brave young man will move into his own home in his beloved hometown,” Santino added.
Corporal Vaughan, of the Third Battalion, 6thMarine Regiment, was wounded in Afghanistan in September of 2011 when the vehicle in which he was traveling in struck an 80-pound pressure plate (improvised explosive device) while he was carrying out combat operations in the Southern Helmand province. As a result of his injuries, Corporal Vaughan, who was treated for 15 months at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, had his left leg amputated below the knee and his right leg reconstructed with rods and screws. He was treated for other major injuries as well.
Corporal Vaughan, a Wellington C. Mepham High School graduate, earned the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Navy Sea Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
Led by President/CEO and Founder Andy Pujol, the Valley Stream-based non-profit Building Homes for Heroes®gifted 22 homes to veterans in 2014 and plans to gift 31 homes, nationwide, by the end of this year.
Partnering with Building Homes for Heroes®, Hempstead Town’s Building Department has waived all building permit fees, providing a savings of $2,400 to the charitable organization that is building Corporal Vaughan’s home.
For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.