Several veterans organizations, patriotic riders groups, volunteers and the community were invited to a Key Ceremony Jan. 18 in Port Angeles, Wash.
Marine Cpl. Ammon Lang, his wife, Kiri, and their two sons, 2 and 4 years old, with another baby on the way, are new homeowners of a 2,700-square-foot home with 155 special adoptions to accommodate his war wounds.
The home, at no cost to Lang and his family, was spearheaded by Homes for our Troops (HFOT), a national non-profit organization founded in 2004. The organization is strongly committed to helping those who have selflessly given to our country and have returned home with serious injuries since Sept. 11, 2001.
Home for our Troops partnered with the North Peninsula Building Association (NPBA) and hundreds of volunteers, donors, and sponsors to help make this happen on the Olympic Peninsula.
Lang was on his first deployment when he stepped on an undetected improvised explosive device in Sangin, Afghanistan, on June 11, 2011, according to HFOT website.
After a long period of intensive treatment and therapy, he returned to Kansas where the transition wasn’t easy, he said. “It’s been stressful to say the least.”
Former Mayor Cherie Kidd spoke to the audience attending the Key Ceremony.
“You are a part of this community now and forever, and we want you to know that,” said Mayor Kidd as she gazed upon Lang and his family. “It can be a little overwhelming for a young couple. This Home for our Troops is a wonderful organization that gives back to those who need it, who didn’t ask for our thanks, but who deserve our thanks."
More than 90 people attended the ceremony.
“Ammon, you said it’s uncomfortable accepting grand gifts from strangers, well that’s the kicker honey, we’re not in Kansas anymore, we are not strangers. We are family now,” Kidd said. “By your accepting our gift, you’re giving us the blessing of welcoming you into our community and hearts.”
Retired Major General Timothy P. McHale, president and director of Homes for our Troops, said they were often ask asked how they do this. “It takes a community. We do it through volunteers,” McHale said. “We have lots of sponsors here in the community that make this happen as you can see by the signs on the lawn.”
McHale looked at the “Flag Line” and said, “It’s because of our veterans before us that were standing here and we thank you sincerely for all you have given our Country. Thank you very much.”
Lang was sincere and humble as he accepted the new key to their home and proceeded to speak to the crowd.
“I loved getting to know all of you and I don’t have the words to describe how this feels and the gratitude I have for all of you.” The audience cheered and some wiped their tears of joy away.
“Thanks again, but if I keep talking, I might cry and I promised myself, never cry at the podium,” he smiles as the audience laughs with him. “Our family appreciates you.”
Seconds later they made their way to the ribbon cutting.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SACRIFICES TODAY AND HAVE A SAFE RIDE HOME.
AS ALWAYS...."IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT THEM, NEVER IS IT ABOUT US."