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Veterans Groups, Labor Unions Volunteer to Renovate Paralyzed Marine’s Home in VA

Burns H2H reno

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Over the weekend, 37 skilled tradesmen renovated the house of decorated Marine veteran Lance Cpl. Brandon Burn, who became partially paralyzed in 2004 while serving in Iraq.   The effort was a collaborative effort that involved union carpenters, electricians, painters and other workers who coordinated their efforts to make multiple improvements to the house.  Organizations involved in the effort included C.H.O.I.C.E), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), and the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA).

Burns recently moved to Stafford, Virginia so he could follow a religious calling through an organization called the Praetorian Project.  Brandon became paralyzed on his right side after being struck in the head by sniper fire. The video below shows what happened to Cpl. Burns in Fallujah. It is graphic and not appropriate for all audiences.

Despite the severe trauma, Burns regained the ability to speak and now shares his story and testimony through the site Marine 4 Christ.

The renovation project began when Brandi Hall of the Wounded Warrior Project received a call about Burns. She took the initiative to organize the effort:

Hall was the one who kicked off the home rehab project after getting a call from someone at Marine Corps Base Quantico who knew Burns could use a hand with a small job at the house.

She reached out to folks at Helmets to Hardhats, a national program that connects military veterans with training and jobs in the construction industry.

Rob Schwartz of HTH said he and Hall toured the Burns’ house, after which he put out a call to those in the North Americas Building Trades Unions, seeking skilled tradesmen who had the skills to make improvements the pair saw were needed.

Also called upon were members of Team Rubicon, which uses military veterans and other volunteers to do all manner of emergency and charitable work.

Outside the renovation, volunteers raked the yard and added mulch. Gutters were cleaned and screens were added.  

Chris Wells, also a veteran, told that he was proud to work on the project:

I spent 10 years in the Marines, and was there in Fallujah where Brandon was wounded.  I’m happy to do anything to help him and his family.”


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