HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — A veteran in Hagerstown will be home for the holidays thanks to fellow veterans from Berkeley County, West Virginia.
Army veteran Samuel Rock started Battle Buddy Response Team in 2019 after his treatment partner stopped showing up for their PTSD rehabilitation sessions. Now the organization visits the homes of veterans across the country for welfare checks.
Rock explained, teary-eyed, that he is tired of losing brothers and sisters to suicide and that he has lost too many already.
After his battle buddy did not attend one of their PTSD rehabilitation sessions, Rock went to his home and knocked on his door, but no one answered. He continued to do this every day for two weeks. Finally, his battle buddy opened the door.
“He said that he was about to commit suicide the day I knocked on his door. He was isolated and thought no one cared,” Rock stated. “If I can get out there and knock on somebody’s door and put together some volunteers in different states to go out and check on people that are military themselves… It means the world. We’ve gotta save our family and we’re family in the military.
Battle Buddy Response Team initially came out to the veteran’s home after learning that he didn’t have any hot water. This prompted them to install a brand new water heater and lead them to a number of projects that also needed improving in his home.
“Not only was the front door not operational, but yeah the water heater was bad, the toilet was bad, the flooring was bad,” Rock explained. “So there was a lot more than just a water heater that was wrong here.”
Many of the volunteers were also veterans or active-duty military members. All of the workers and contractors working on the veteran’s mobile home were licensed and volunteered their time. Rock also highlighted that Lowes in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania donated the flooring for the renovation and the Lowes in Hagerstown, Md. also donated other materials for the operation. Rock also explained that a local Boy Scout troop came the day before the renovations to shovel snow off of the yard and driveway to make a clear workspace for the volunteers. A flooring company even drove in from Annapolis to install new flooring for the Vietnam veteran.
Burl Howard is a retired Marine Corporal and was more than willing to volunteer on this project.
“Veterans stick together, I mean it’s kinda hard to see it as a civilian,” Howard explained. “When it comes to veterans, we all kinda hang out with each other. We all understand what we went through. Whether you got deployed or you worked here in the states, you’re still a veteran and you still do something for our country.”
Anna Kline, an Army veteran and Hagerstown resident, didn’t know how she could help the operation but knew she had to do something. After hearing about the renovation day on TikTok, she reached out to Mission Barbeque who donated food for the volunteers. She emphasized that “no matter the branch or when you served, we are all family and we take care of our family.”
Battle Buddy Response Team deploys welfare check teams all across the country. For more information on Battle Buddy Response Team or to deploy a team for a veteran or their loved ones, please visit their website.
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