Below is a letter from Veteran RJ Kelly whose home was damaged in the 2016 Sand Fire. With the help of State Farm and youth volunteers, we were able to protect his property from potential flooding and future mudslides. We are very proud to be able to help community leaders like RJ who do so much for others and are so thankful he took the time to write this.

March 23, 2017

Thank you, Habitat.

As a disabled veteran, you must face many concerns in life.  What will I do with my life?  How will I support my family?  How will I protect my family?  These are real question we face every day.  Yet, you think hard, work hard and love all, then it all goes away.  Your prayers are answered.

As I laid on the battlefield of Viet Nam unable to move I realized one thing at the time.  I’m not going to die, I have too much to live for.  When I woke up paralyzed I said I can do better.  I defied all logic and realized God had a plan.  He just wasn’t ready to tell me what it was.  I have become an advocate veterans’ rights, needs and families.  I never thought about my needs as a veteran to support and protect my family.

Ten years ago, the Santa Clarita Valley was engulfed in fire.  It burned up to our fence line and gave us that feeling of helplessness.  We survived the fire, but about six months later came the rain and flooding.  With no growth on the mountains the flood attacked our property relentlessly.  That Helpless feeling was there again and we survived once again but the trauma was something to remember.

In July of 2016 we were once again set upon with the devastating Sand Fire.  Like the past, it burnt up to our property line.  We survived once again.  All the out pour of support got us through another chapter in our lives.  The realization set in that we are older now, make a lot less income and emotionally tired.  It was a fact that we needed to embrace, the rains and flooding will come once again.  This proved true in early 2017 as the rain started and the flooding came.  With the drought having taken to our state there was little time for the water to soak in the ground so it was going to run wild and destroy property.  With little time and limited resources, we wondered about the future.

Habitat heard of our concerns and came up with a plan to assist this disabled Marine and his family.  Habitat came up with a plan to secure and protect our fence line facing the flood zone.  Over a period of a week, Habitat and their volunteers worked in the rain and occasional dry days to build a small retaining wall to protect our property.  We did not have the money or ability to protect ourselves from what was going to happen.

Habitats mission to help veterans through construction was an unbelievable gift to my family.  Their mission to build new veteran communities, remodel veteran’s homes and protect veterans reminds us that we can help and give individually but the reality is sometimes we need help ourselves.

Thank you, Habitat.

God Bless our veterans and supporters,

The Kelly Family