I have been writing Mullings since March, 1998. During those 12+ years I have come to you only on rare occasions. I am coming to you again with a very special request.
You know all about Marietta, Ohio 45750. I have kidded and chided (mostly myself) about my checkered college career and even more checkered political career there.
This week I will be in Marietta to help out with something that is very close to my heart, Raising money to help build a home for a young man who was badly wounded in Afghanistan: PFC Kyle Hockenberry.
In 2011, PFC Hockenberry, while a member of the 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Combat Brigade, 1st Infantry Division; ran afoul of an improvised explosive device.
He lost both legs and an arm. He was stabilized and transported to San Antonio for treatment and rehabilitation and is now ready to come home.
And a home is what this note is all about.
You know who Gary Sinise is. He's an actor. A pretty good actor. One of Sinise' roles was as Lt. Dan Taylor in the film, "Forrest Gump."
But, he's much more than an actor, he is a humanitarian.
Sinise formed a foundation to support the "Lt. Dan Band" a group of highly skilled musicians who have played all over the world - more than 40 USO dates alone.
Gary Sinese and the Lt. Dan Band will be in Marietta, Ohio on Thursday night to play a concert to help raise money to build an accessible house - called a "Smart Home" - for PFC Hockenberry.
If you don't want (or need) to read any farther, click HERE to go to the donation page.
An organization called the Tunnel to Towers Foundation has teamed up with the Lt. Dan Band Foundation to build as many as 18 Smart Homes for wounded veterans across the country. You can read about how the Tunnel to Towers Foundation got its name HERE
One of the issues with raising money in a place like Marietta is simply: It's a very small market.
So, we've been reaching out across Ohio for other Buckeyes to pitch in, and now I'm reaching out to you.
I have a special place in my heart for service members who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. For those of you who may be newcomers to MULLINGS, I spent six months in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 on assignment for the Department of Defense.
It's hard to believe that was nearly nine years ago. If you missed them you can click here to read the Iraq Chronicles. They're probably dated by now but remember, they were written under intense circumstances in real time.
I know, believe me, that these are tough times. But if you have any way to help out with this project it would mean a lot to me.
And it would mean far, far more to PFC Kyle Hockenberry and his family.
Here, again, is the link to go to the donation page.