Courtesy of frequent commenter NortonPete who sent this link, comes a story about a town that would not ignore a wounded veteran. In fact, they made sure that Jim Benoit and his wife Pam have a new home to live in. Wharton, New Jersey pulled together and built a house for the wounded Iraq veteran and handed him the keys in a ceremony on December 27 – a New Year present that could not be better for the Benoits, who can now move out of a cramped mobile home.
Wounded veteran Jim Benoit was officially handed the keys to a new Wharton home Thursday, capping a year-plus long effort that enlisted hundreds of volunteers, help from 70 local companies and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to build it for him.
Benoit and his wife Pam are preparing to move out of a cramped trailer at nearby Picatinny Arsenal into the two-story, wheelchair-accessible, 2,400 square-foot Colonial in January.
Benoit joined the Army out of high school, had served a month in Afghanistan and was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when an explosive device detonated under the Humvee he was driving, nearly killing him.
The September 2005 blast blew a hole out of Benoit's backside that required 80 surgeries and sparked his hometown to rally around him.
Wharton Borough Council President Scott Hutchins enlisted support from the Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization Homes for Our Troops. Local companies donated everything from a floor heating system to portable toilets for the construction site.
Military personnel from the rank of private right on up through a general and lots and lots of local folks pitched in to make this come true for the Benoits.