Submitted Tue, 11/12/2013 - 7:55am by BossFrog
A group of students in Lancaster, California has found a truly amazing way to honor a local war hero. Jerral Hancock was paralyzed, burned and lost an arm in the Iraq war, making it difficult for him to get around his mobile home. And after his handicapped-accessible vehicle broke down, he was stuck inside for half a year, which he said felt “like being in prison.” Well, when the students in Jamie Goodreau’s U.S. History class heard Hancock’s story they decided they wanted to help and set out to build him a new home. Every year Goodreau’s class chooses an end-of-the-year project to honor veterans, but usually they just raise money for a charity. This time the class set a higher goal, and decided Hancock’s house would be their project. The students raised $80,000 in four months by holding yard sales, selling T-shirts and other fundraising efforts, and now six months after they began, the students have closed on a $264,000 property, with ground-breaking planned for next month. The teens’ hard work has since inspired the community, with help coming from an architectural firm, a contractor, and several big box stores that have offered discounts on supplies. And inmates from a local prison helped out as well – donating proceeds from the sale of their artwork. And even before the house is built, the effort is already having a positive effect on Hancock. He says helping the students has given him purpose, and has actually stopped the nightmares he’s had since returning from the war. As for why they’re doing it, the answer is simple for 17-year-old Nicole Skinner. “Just look at him, man. Many people these days are complaining about their lives and you look at him and what he’s been through, and he’s still smiling and all. He’s not complaining,” she says, “He’s just so motivating.”