Veterans lend a hand to former service member still displaced from Hurricane Florence

Veterans lend a hand to former service member still displaced from Hurricane Florence

BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - After Hurricane Florence hit, triple-amputee veteran Tom McCrae went above and beyond to help other veterans.

It was his way of paying it forward, after receiving help himself from Truckin 4 Troops, a non-profit that works with disabled veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.

Now McCrae is back at it, working to help a fellow vet who still isn’t back in his home after 18 feet of water infiltrated his property after Florence.

Last year, Truckin 4 Troops provided 18 campers for families in need.

Veteran William O’Brien is still living in his camper with his wife, two children and four dogs. The family is still waiting on insurance money to fix their home.

Tom McCrae reached out to Truckin 4 Troops to see if they could help the O’Brien family. Now the group is back in the Carolinas, planning to rebuild the O’Brien home and make it completely accessible for disabled veterans.

Tom’s McCrae’s drive to give back is what made the decision an easy one for leaders with Truckin’ 4 Troops.

“[Tom] says ‘everybody’s always helping me, nobody ever lets me help them.’ So, it’s really filled his heart to be part of what we’ve been doing out here helping the veterans out,” Truckin 4 Troops President Scott Mallary said.

The man on the receiving end of this help, William O’Brien, is far more used to providing help to his fellow veterans. O’Brien and his wife started Veteran Owned Veteran Grown, an organization that uses idea farming as a form of therapy. O’Brien said far too many veterans are committing suicide and their families are falling apart. His home has become sort of a safe-haven for veterans in the area.

“It’s not just our home. I can’t tell you how many veterans have sat around this fire pit when it’s actually built and are able to find their peace, and some tranquility and just get grounded again. They can bring their families out here and it’s just a safe atmosphere to let their guard down,” O’Brien said. “It’s kind of a unique position for me to be in because I’m usually the one trying to be helping and now I’m the one kinda having to back up and get help. But it’s from the guys I would have asked for help from when I was in the military,” O’Brien said.

Truckin for Troops will be in the Annual Veteran’s Parade Saturday. Their trucks will be at Mission BBQ following the parade. Any donations made to the organization will go directly to rebuilding the O’Brien’s home.

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