Volunteers transform veteran’s storm damaged home in Smyrna

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SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – He served the country fighting in two wars, but Mother Nature was no match for a Smyrna soldier and widower.

Rick Marsh’s home was heavily damaged by a storm a few years ago.

“It probably lasted about two or three days of solid rain, and a lot of flooding,” he said. “[The] roof was damaged and it caused some of the ceiling to fall down in one of my son’s rooms.”

On Thursday, the Boxer Place home was transformed into a safe place for Marsh and his four children with the help of Operation Stand Down and Home Depot.

“I was blown away; I can’t speak highly enough of them, the people from Home Depot, all the volunteers that come out; it has been incredible,” Marsh said.

The single father said the last two years have been difficult for his family of five.

His wife died from kidney failure at just 28-years-old, leaving him to care for his three step-children and his son with special needs.

“Between working full-time, coming home, getting them out of daycare, homework, baths, dinner, all that stuff, it was just no time to do the repairs that needed to be done, so it just snowballed and got worse, and worse and worse,” Marsh said.

He added, “[It] eventually got to a state that I didn’t know what to do with it.”

With the help of volunteers thought, Marsh and his family have been given a new lease on life.

“It is life changing. We’re able to work with the veteran and help him go through some of the different processes through the VA, through Operation Stand Down, and then this is able to help him make a better life for him and his children,” said Michael McCoy with Operation Stand Down.

Marsh’s home is being renovated from top to bottom, and will get new paint and flooring and much more.

“It’s an excellent feeling to know that I’m not forgotten. It’s been great,” Marsh said.

For this former Fort Campbell soldier, who defended America in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s now time for him to sit back, and let someone else take care of him.

“What Operation Stand Down does best, we’re not house builders, we’re not repairmen, we’re a catalyst and a conduit for change in affecting Veterans lives,” McCoy said. “So, we’re able to do is make that change happen through volunteers and the Home Depot Foundation.”

Volunteers from Middle Tennessee State University’s ROTC, Cort Furniture and Home Depot all helped out.

They have been working on the home for two days and expect to be done with the Marsha family home Thursday night.

Last year Operation Stand Down assisted 2,104 veterans. The agency expects to exceed that number this year.

Click here for more information on Operation Stand Down, including on how to volunteer or become a financial partner.

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