A Salute to Our Veterans and a Group Near to Our Heart

Active duty military members serving at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), veterans living in Pierce County and their families have touched Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity.

In the last year, 366 self-identified veterans volunteered with us on site. The expansion of our Veteran Home Repair program, which provides critical home repair to low income veterans throughout Pierce County, gave us new ways to serve this vital part of our community.

This Veterans Day, we would like to highlight the Warrior Transition Battalion, one of our many volunteer groups who serve both our nation and our organization.

The Warrior Transition Battalion is a unit whose sole purpose is to care for wounded, ill, or injured Soldiers, according to the Madigan Army Medical Center’s website. The WTB includes soldiers from every rank, both active duty and reserve.

The goal is to treat soldiers with the dignity they deserve, according to Woody Stone, Transition Coordinator for the WTB.

Approximately one-third of the soldiers stationed in the WTB return to their active duty positions after treatment. Many others begin the process of transitioning back to civilian life.

The WTB helps soldiers heal while making these transitions.

The Warrior Transition Battalion volunteered for the past five years with Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity.

Stone has worked for the WTB since 2007. He first volunteered with Habitat for Humanity when the WTB spent a week at the Founder’s Circle development.

“There’s a point of pride,” Stone said. “Whenever we drive by… I always point out to my wife ‘I worked on those houses over there!’ It was thrilling, I feel like I did something over there.”

Stone and the WTB served in many developments over the years: Larabee Terrace, Ainsworth Vista and, for the past two years, Tillicum—located right outside the gates of JBLM.

“There’s kind of a sense of ownership, that we were able to do something there.  It really makes you feel like you belong to this community.”

This sense of belonging is part of what WTB enjoys most about volunteering with Habitat. Many soldiers are “geographic bachelors” who may not be around their family.

Building a home as a unit can bring that feeling of family back, Stone said. Tangible activities like picking up a hammer or a saw for the day can act like little reminders of home.

“As long as humanity has been in a civilized manner, we’ve been trying to build things. There’s something very innate about it. It’s exciting because it’s real.
“Real things are worth talking about, and they’re certainly worth writing home about.”

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity is extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated group return to our sites year after year.

We are grateful for the sacrifices made from all members of our military community.  Thank you for everything that you do.

Happy Veterans Day!

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