The U.S. Marine Corps' motto of "semper fidelis" — “always faithful” — is playing out in Southern Oregon, where local volunteers and businesses are partnering with Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors to build a custom home for Lance Cpl. Jed Morgan and his family.
“There’s a lot of veteran support in Medford,” says Morgan, who lost both legs and the use of his dominant arm in a explosion during a 2011 tour in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps.
Terry Mackey, vice president of S&B James Construction, says the company jumped at the opportunity to build the Morgans' house. “It’s a small token of appreciation and way of saying thank you,” Mackey says.
Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors was started in October 2009 by Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers defensive end Jared Allen. The organization provides financial assistance and support to injured U.S. military veterans by building and remodeling homes that suit their individual needs.
“Other foundations build houses on a subdivision, and the veteran has to go where the house is,” says Mackey. “Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors said to pick a site, and they’ll make it happen.”
Every aspect of the Morgans' one-level, 2,800-square-foot home in Central Point is custom. Jed and his wife, Anna, met with architects to discuss each stage of build and design. The house is about 80 percent done, Mackey says, with an estimated completion next month.
Morgan says participating in every part of the project has been an amazing journey. He has had input on even the smallest details, such as the height of the electrical outlets.
“It’s been stressful, but awesome,” Morgan says.
Morgan joined the Marine Corps in 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan two years later. After being critically wounded by an improvised exploding device in June 2011, he spent the next 12 weeks at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Morgan was honored with a Purple Heart for his service.
The project has spurred an overwhelming amount of support from the community, Mackey says, including donations and help from subcontractors.
“You see what a giving, tight-knit community Southern Oregon is,” Mackey says. “It’s fun to be a part of that.”
The project has touched many lives, including those on the build team. Mackey says the superintendent on the project is also a Marine.
“Both my kids are in the Marine Corps, so it touched a chord with me,” he says.
In 2016, Morgan joined the White Heart Foundation to help other veterans. He leads the Guardian Project, an ecotherapy program designed to help combat veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress.
“We take a group of about 10 veterans dealing with PTSD and mental trauma on recreational excursions. They reconnect with nature and gain a support system,” he says. The group goes rock climbing, river rafting, camping and does other outdoor activities.
As Morgan helps fellow veterans, he says he's amazed by the support of the Southern Oregon community and its willingness to help him and his family.
“It’s great knowing there are people out there who want to help us. We’re blessed to be here,” he says.
Reach Medford freelance writer Rebecca Scott at email@example.com.