Beaches Habitat and Turner Pest Control congratulates Gena and Ryan Smith as the first Wounded Warrior Partner Family. To celebrate the completion of construction, a dedication ceremony was held on Saturday, May 18th at the new Smith Family home in Atlantic Beach.
Turner Pest Control sponsored the construction of the Smith Family home. “As a locally owned business, Turner Pest Control, has a strong commitment to giving back to our community,” said Ashton Hudson, Co-Owner of Turner Pest Control. “We are proud to support this project with Beaches Habitat and the Wounded Warrior Project and we are pleased to welcome the Smith Family to their new home.”
This journey for the Smith Family began on January 17, 2006 while Sgt. Ryan Smith was serving his second tour in Iraq. That date is significant because it was on that day that his Humvee ran over an IED leaving Ryan with burns and shrapnel wounds, a traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
While Ryan was in Iraq, Gena was experiencing her own trauma. She was four months pregnant when doctors discovered she had kidney cancer. Despite the risks, she was fortunate to deliver a healthy baby at eight months. After delivery, Gena had surgery and then chemotherapy.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is helping Ryan recover and return to civilian life through its first in the Nation, TRACK program.
Beaches Habitat wanted to help fill the void of affordable housing to help honor and empower Warriors who have fought so valiantly for the freedoms we all enjoy. “We welcome Gena, Ryan and their son to the Beaches Habitat Family. We are very happy for them and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Warriors is exciting,” said Ralph Marcello, Beaches Habitat President.
The Smith Family helped to build their home alongside members of the Beaches Habitat Women Build team as well as Turner Pest Control employees and other volunteers.
“We’ll be paying about half what we’re paying in rent. This will let us get on our feet and we’ll have something of our own – a place to set our roots,” Gena said. “To own a home – that’s great. But to build it yourself and really love it, that means a lot.”