Joint Force takes on new meaning as 115th FW Airmen help a Soldier in need

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jon LaDue
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Philanthropy is a large part of the culture behind today's Air Force men and women. For more than 10 Airman of the 115th Fighter Wing, volunteerism hit a little closer to home recently as they put down their Air Force chevrons and picked up tools to help a Soldier in need. 

The Airmen volunteered to help the Homes for our Troops program which consolidated its resources to provide injured Army veteran Staff Sgt. Charles Isaacson with a brand new home. A home which was specially built by many volunteers who wanted to appreciate and show respect to Sergeant Isaacson for his sacrifices. 

Sergeant Isaacson and his wife, Brenda, were presented the keys to their new home during an unveiling and dedication ceremony Jan. 27 in Sun Prairie. After the presentation, the many civilian and veteran volunteers toured the house and most were simply ecstatic at the result. 

"It was an honor to help build the home that he and his family will be able to enjoy for many years," said Tech. Sgt. Jamie Eastlick, 115th Fighter Wing. "I was very happy to share in their excitement." 

Sergeant Isaacson puts on combat boots, deploys to the Area of Responsibility and puts his life on the line, just like the Airman of the 115 FW. This provided a volunteer opportunity that meant just a little more to those Airman who were more than willing to lend a hand. 

Lt. Col. Patrick Volk, 115th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Commander, was able to help out with the project along with members from all four groups under the 115th FW. Colonel Volk said he is glad to help out anyone, regardless of service affiliation, for the life altering sacrifices they have made. 

Another 115th FW Airman helped to frame the garage, apply the exterior tyvek wrap and install the trusses, but, believed so much in the cause, he downplayed his involvement. 

"Seeing so many people setting aside their personal obligations to help someone was truly amazing," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Marose, 115th Maintenance Squadron. "I was only able to make it out there for one day ... I only wish I could have done more." 

The major groundbreaking consisted of a three-day build brigade where volunteers worked in shifts to construct the 2,300 square foot, four-bedroom, two bath, two car garage, single-story ranch. The home is located on a large lot and is big enough for the Isaacsons to accommodate a family in the future. 

Senior Airman Michael Wallace, 115th Logistics Readiness Squadron, has never worked on a house but thought the story was compelling enough to give it a try.

"We teamed up the first day to help place the insulation on the outside and assisted with the roof's construction," said Airman Wallace. "This was my first opportunity to build a home. Its purpose was well placed and I can't wait for my next opportunity."

The home is located on a large in the country but fairly close to Madison. The home features extra wide halls and doorways, an elevator to get to the basement, roll-under sinks, hardwood floors and specially equipped bathrooms. These are all accommodations that were much needed for Sergeant Isaacson but not always easy to find. 

"You try to find wheelchair accessible houses and there's not a whole lot there," he said. "It's unbelievable the amount of work and effort that has gone up." 

Sergeant Isaacson was a flight engineer on Chinook helicopters in the Army. He said he worked with other services a lot and, to him, it always seemed like all the branches "scratched each other's backs." He said the support he got from the 115th Airmen was great and he was very appreciative of their efforts. 

Sergeant Isaacson grew up in Sun Prairie. He enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from high school. On his eighth tour oversees, Sergeant Isaacson was just five days from returning home when his helicopter crashed in Southern Afghanistan. Of the 22 passengers on board, eight were killed and many others injured. Sergeant Isaacson sustained two collapsed lungs, broken ribs, and a broken leg and neck with other injuries that left him a paraplegic from the chest down. 

Many members of the 115th FW have deployed. Colonel Volk said citizen Airmen now deploy to remote and austere locations and are engaged in the war alongside Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsman from active and reserve components. This gives a whole new meaning to the "joint force" concept, which, after one newly built home, rings true not only on the battle front, but the home front as well.

"The Global War on Terror we now fight has forever changed the Air National Guard," said Colonel Volk. "It's that reason that I believe 115 FW Airmen feel compelled to help out another service member in need. Could he walk, I'm certain Chuck Isaacson would do the same for any of us."