More than 170 volunteers, including several members of the Chattanooga Fire Department, have gathered in Mayfield, Kentucky, June 6-18, to build a fully accessible home in only 12 days for a local Army veteran whose house was destroyed by an F5 tornado on Dec. 10, 2021.
Senior Firefighter Keith Mosley, Firefighter Jake Case, Firefighter Josh Hixson, Senior Firefighter Mark Coffman, Senior Firefighter Brit Bradshaw, Captain Tyler Swindell, Lt.
Joe Fuller, and Firefighter Derek Riley, along with retired CFD members Adam Cannon and Chip O’Dell, have joined volunteers from around the country to build a 2,300 square foot, mortgage-free accessible home for disabled Army veteran Tim Andreasen and his family. They are part of A Soldier’s Journey Home (ASJH), a non-profit organization that builds homes for seriously injured veterans in concert with the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Two weeks before Christmas, Mr. Andreasen, his children, Lane, 8, and Lillie, 10, along with his disabled mother and stepfather, were at home watching the approach of severe weather in their area. At 9:25 p.m., Mr. Andreasen lost power and received an emergency alert. He gathered his children and within seconds, his home was hit by the tornado. Miraculously, his entire family survived, but his home was destroyed and the damage to the surrounding community was catastrophic.
Representatives from the Tunnel to Towers Foundation visited Mayfield on Dec. 21, to aid in disaster relief by distributing 15,000 toys to displaced children, barbecuing for the community, and committing millions to the rebuilding effort.
“When the foundation came to Mayfield just before Christmas last year, we made a promise to the community that we would be back, that we would not forget them. I’m proud to say that we have kept that promise, and that in partnership with A Soldier’s Journey Home, we will be building a mortgage-free home for one of our nation’s deserving veterans, a Mayfield native. This is the fourth home we have built with A Soldier’s Journey Home, and we could not think of a better team to work with on this build,” said Tunnel to Towers Chairman and CEO Frank Siller.
“A Soldier’s Journey Home has its origins in responding to natural disaster sites to help communities rebuild. When the alarm goes off in the firehouse, it’s because someone needs help. And that’s what we’re here for,” said Patrick “Paddy” Neville, a Navy veteran, retired FDNY firefighter and A Soldier’s Journey Home president. “We have more than 170 volunteers from 22 states ready to build Tim and his family a new home.”
Chattanooga firefighters are an integral part of the ASJH charity. They have been taking part in the house builds for a number of years, traveling across the nation and using their vacation time to help with construction and logistics.