In any war, the great sacrifices of those who gave their all in battle to protect our freedoms can never be forgotten. A grim statistic of America's war on terrorism, which began after the attacks against this nation on 9-11-01, is that since then, over 40,000 U.S. soldiers have suffered physical injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan that are so severe it has cost many of them much of their independence.

SPC Robert J. Kislow III was one of those soldiers whose had to learn to adapt to a new lifestyle after being wounded five times in 2005 during a battle against Taliban forces in a mountainous area of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. Though severely injured Kislow somehow managed to hold the forward marksman position for a wounded brother, continuing to fight until a medic arrived.

The bullet proof chest protector he was wearing may have saved his life from two of the shots, but one punctured his helmet, causing Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), and another bullet wound required the amputation of his right leg. He spent the next 29 months receiving treatment – including numerous surgeries and extensive therapy.

Long recoveries are especially demoralizing for someone used to an active lifestyle. Before his debilitating wounds, Kislow enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golf and anything else that had to do with the outdoors. Thanks to an intensive rehabilitation regimen and his positive mental approach, he has been able to resume many of his outdoor pursuits. He has an interest in auto racing, and has already completed college courses in automotive and business finance.

Allowing Kislow to move about freely in a barrier-free home is one objective others in the community can help do something about. A nationwide organization called Homes for Our Troops estimates that there are between 1,000 to 1,500 veterans among us with injuries so severe that they are in need of an adapted home. Relying on local professional tradesmen and volunteers, it provides specially adapted homes that will help wounded veterans like Kislow restore the independence they have lost, and make pursuit of their dreams much easier.

A Build Brigade for Homes for Our Troops will be meeting at the Kislow job site at 3001 Delps Road, Danielsville on July 22-24. Through the combined efforts of an expected team of 75-100 volunteers and local contractors, the exterior of the house can be constructed in one weekend. The target for completion is noon on Sunday, July 24.

For more information on non-construction volunteer roles, visit http://www.homesforourtroops.org/kislow.

It is one way the community can "give back" to someone who willing sacrificed for all of us.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com