WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Move-in day will be July 22 in Foster, Va. for a U.S. Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan and his family members.
On Friday night, those with the Military Warriors Support Foundation were scheduled to mark Independence Day by handing over the keys to that new mortgage-free home to U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Ryan Long, prior to The Greenbrier Classic’s concert from Maroon 5.
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Long lost his right leg and almost lost his left leg in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2012. “I was driving and I rolled over an IED. That’s the short story. It did a lot of damage to my vehicle, (but) I caught the worst of it,” Long said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Since then, he’s undergone more than half a dozen surgeries, worked through extensive rehabilitation and has dealt with recurring infections. Throughout it, he said he has tried to remain positive.
“For us, it was a job. We were there to do it. I enjoyed it. It’s unfortunate this happened,” Long said of his injury. “I look at it as a gift and a curse. It’s a blessing too.”
Long said he’s ready to move forward with his life and continue his education — he’s studying accounting. Long’s wife, Vanessa, was with him in Greenbrier County to pick up the keys along with the couple’s three children — Mariah, 9, Jaiden, 6, and Angelina, 4.
“That’s what’s so awesome about it,” Long said of the house gift. “It gives me that financial freedom to pursue my education and not have to worry about holding down a full-time job and trying to go to school and take care of family as well. It would be very stressful.”
Ret. Lt. General Leroy Sisco created the Military Warriors Support Foundation to provide support for combat wounded veterans and Gold Star families. “I don’t want to give them a burden. I want to give them an asset. All the years I spent as a commander in different units, I never really got to say thank you and this is the best way I know,” Sisco said.
Homes that are 100 percent mortgage-free are awarded to combat wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who apply through the Foundation’s homes donation program, Homes4WoundedHeroes.
To date, Sisco said they’ve awarded almost 600 homes valued at $142 million total. “You can actually just literally see it lift the stress off them when you give them a home,” he said.
More information about the work of the Military Warriors Support Foundation is available here.
Sisco and Long were guests on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline” which was broadcasting from The Greenbrier Resort as part of The PGA’s Greenbrier Classic.