Wednesday morning, an 8-year-old boy raised an American flag for a hero he’s never met — his father.
“Pretty soon after getting married and living together, we found out we were expecting a baby,” said his mother, Crissie Carpenter, “Something, I was scared about. I was scared due to Andy leaving for his 2nd deployment in just a few weeks.”
Lance Cpl. Andy Carpenter, a U.S. Marine and Tennessee native, was shot on February 14, 2011, while on patrol in Afghanistan. He died five days later.
One month later, his wife gave birth to their baby boy, Landon.
“I had no plan for how or where to start life, but I just kept pushing forward, because I knew I had to show Landon how to overcome hard times in life, always,” Carpenter said.
After moving from Camp Lejune back to her hometown of Dickson, she always wanted a house of their own.
“I feel like that’s something that a lot of people do together, as husband and wife, with their children,” she said.
May 1st, 2019, her dreams came true thanks to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers program providing Gold Star military families with a morgage free home.
Carpenter and her son got to see their new house for the first time after a special ceremony Wednesday morning.
“Being able to give Landon a home, it means the world to me,” she said.
Lance Cpl. Carpenter’s fellow marine and best friend, Silvio Portillo, spoke at the cermony.
“We don’t feel like heroes, she’s my hero,” he told the crowd.
Portillo added that the day is more special than people realize, “Exactly eight years ago, we came home without Andy,” he said, “And today, she’s coming home. And I think he has everything to do with that.”
Carpenter agrees. She said she found out that her and Landon would get the house on February 14th.
“The fact that this fell on this day, it is, it’s a full circle. You can feel Andy in it, it’s really cool,” she told News 2.
More than a dozen surviving military families are in morgage free homes thanks to Tunnel to Towers.
The organization was founded in memory of Stephen Siller, a firefighter killed in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on 9-11.
To find out more or donate to the organization, click here.