HAMLIN TOWNSHIP — Ludington has shown its love for U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. (ret.) Eric Lund, helping create his new Helping a Hero home and celebrating it with him Monday afternoon through a dedication ceremony.
The event provided an opportunity for people to say thanks, Lund’s family to the community and community members and lawmakers to say their thanks to Lund.
Helping a Hero national ambassador Lee Greenwood sang his appreciation with his famed “God Bless the USA.”
With American flags flying and Lund by his side, the Greenwood song had the hundreds of people in attendance singing along and feeling, well, downright patriotic.
Helpingahero.org provided $125,000 in funding for the home at 5479 Breckenridge Drive home off North Jebavy Drive.
Randy and Christy Malliett provided the lot and served as general contractors, overseeing the many in-kind donations of materials and labor as well as the paid portions of the project. Lund will have a $150,000 mortgage as well.
Lund was injured in May 2012 in Afghanistan when the military all-terrain vehicle he was in struck a roadside bomb. The vehicle overturned onto Lund, who was serving as a gunner. He lost one arm that day and his other was amputated the next day. He also suffered multiple fractures throughout his body.
He spent two years recovering and going through rehabilitation in San Antonio, Texas. He moved back to Ludington last year and is now moved into his new adaptive home with special features, including some audio-command options to help him toward independent living.
Members of Lund's Charlie Troop and a private plane — thanks to the generous donation of the pilots — full ofhelpingahero.org veterans were among the guests of honor.
One of them, J.P. Lane, who lost both his legs in the War on Terror, was a former American Idol contestant even sang "Only a Mountain" by Jason Castro.
A new office provided by Vic and Kelly Burwell was a surprise to Eric until after the ceremony when he was allowed to see it for the first time. It is decorated with a special American flag that flew in Afghanistan on the day Lund was injured, Lund's two purple hearts, a decorative surfboard, lots of photographs, his combat boots, memorabilia from his time in the service, a desk and cabinets, and a scrapbook of images and stories about his journey.
The home is adaptive, with voice commands, but Lund makes his way around well without them, too.