Thursday December 5, 2013
The weekend before Thanksgiving, Permian Homes, with the help of Operation Finally Home had the unique opportunity to do something most homebuilders have yet to have the pleasure of doing…welcoming home a second wounded veteran for this cause.
We shared the story about our experience with Operation Finally Home back on Veteran’s Day, November 11th. Funny enough, at the time of the interview our blogger, Sunny Busby, had no clue that she and her family were about to be blessed with the home her husband helped build with Permian Homes for Operation Finally Home.
Today we are pleased to share with you the story behind our wounded veteran and express our joy with how this house has truly become a home for the Busby Family.
Welcome Home, Busby’s!
“My military career began in 1999 when I joined the Army from Odessa, TX. Between when I joined the military and Sept 11, I was stationed in Fort Polk, LA and was with the 2nd ACR where we trained and prepared to do our job as a Calvary Scout. A Calvary Scout is responsible for the reconnaissance for the Army, we’re the guys who go out and find and fix on the enemy. As a light scout, I generally rode in HMMWV (hum-vee’s).
September 11th, 2001, caused very little immediate change for my unit. My unit continued to train, we were prepared to go but we were never sent on order to Afghanistan. We finally received orders to go to Iraq in March of 2003. Our original orders gave us 30 days from the day of notification when we would deploy and by the end of the week that we got them, we were given 72 hours to be on a plane and gone.
My first deployment was the most difficult of my deployments. We were young, inexperienced with one combat vet in the entire troop of just over 100 men; we were trained for the last war…we were trained to fight Desert Storm; we weren’t trained to fight an insurgency. Desert storm was a traditional war, large battles, large tank battles, force on force, enemies wearing their uniforms, Americans wearing our uniforms. Counter insurgencies, we don’t know who the enemy is. Sometimes he is your stereo typical military age male; sometimes he’s the lady in the burka wearing IED (Improvised Explosive Device) under her dress.
My first tour, I was in Iraq for 1 year. When I got home, I got orders to go to the 101st. The army had started to change how it fought and we were preparing to fight a counter insurgency.
My second tour was with the 1-32 Cav, part of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. We left September of 2005 and returned September of 2006. During my 2nd deployment, I spent most of my time as a retention NCO keeping people in the army.
By the time I left for my third tour, I was a senior scout. The second most senior NCO in the platoon and lead every combat patrol. We deployed to Iraq in September of 2007. It was this third deployment when I became injured in combat for which I was awarded a purple heart.
In a 24 hour period, I got my truck blown up twice. The beginning of the day, we did our combat patch ceremony which means anybody who did not have a 101st combat patch that day was awarded a combat patch. My 1SG and CSM requested that all of us who had different combat patches wear the 101st patches on both sleeves. I had been awarded a combat patch on my first and second deployment. I complied with their request and later that day, while driving my LT, we were hit with an IED which destroyed the mine roller on our truck but didn’t hurt anyone on the truck. My guys and I spent the rest of that evening getting another truck up and running for our next patrol. The next day while pursuing an insurgent, I hit another IED, this one much larger which ripped the front end of my truck apart and knocked me out.
When I came-to, I checked on my men and once I realized that no one was severely injured, I called back up to my Lieutenant and told him that we were okay. I thought my truck was on fire so I ordered my men to evacuate the truck and move on to another truck that was not disabled.
Each one of the trucks behind us only had 1 seat so I had to run back to what was the 4th truck in line with my wounded knee, dropping off people by rank as we went. By rank…the most junior people first…both my gunner and my driver kept telling me that I was more hurt and I should get in the trucks first and I told them to get in the truck as I had directed.
I got back to the last truck which had our medic on it, they could tell I was injured by the way I was moving but I refused to be checked out before my men were, so the medic went to check on my guys first. Both my guys were okay, medic came back and checked on me and by this time the adrenaline was wearing off and I realized I was in pain.
A little while later I was evaced back to our patrol base where the medics checked me out, drained some fluid from my knee and removed some shrapnel from my leg and medicated me for pain. I refused to be evaced further until my platoon was relieved at the patrol base because there was only one platoon there and we needed all the people we could have. I spent the next three days listening to radios.
When we were relieved and got back to the main base, they took me to the aid station. The aid station thought I had a broken knee so they flew me to LSA Anaconda. There they did an x-ray and found that while my knee wasn’t broken, it was severely damaged. I refused to be medi-vaced to Germany, against the Dr’s orders, because I wanted to get back to my guys. About 2-2 ½ weeks later I returned to my men. My knee has never been without pain since this day. At the time, I was just grateful to return to my guys; for now I am grateful that I can still manage most days.
I came home that November 2008 and left the Army in April of 2009 with almost 10 years in service.
I left the military as a single father of two wonderful kids. When I came back to Odessa, it took me 6 months to get enrolled in UTPB. In that time, my mother was able to get me a job with a friend of hers but it wasn’t enough to pay bills so I started delivering pizzas as well. During this time I met my wonderful wife and her three beautiful kids. We started dating and became engaged in October of 2009.
One week later, my wife’s position was eliminated and so she was left jobless, leaving me to help support her, her children and my children off a pizza delivery wage.
When we got married the following February, she still had been unable to find employment and I was still delivering pizzas so I started looking at going back in the military.
I talked to a friend of mine at church, David Martin. At the time I had no idea he owned his own business. I explained to him that my family, but especially my oldest daughter, did not want me to go back in but I didn’t know what else to do. Two days later, David called me and offered me a job working in sales with Permian Homes.
A few months later, not being comfortable at a desk job, I was extended an offer to move over to the production side of Permian Homes.
In early 2012, David Martin told me that Permian Homes would be building a home with Operation Finally Home and asked me if I would be the superintendent on this project. I was ecstatic. Literally bouncing off walls…very very thrilled to be able to do something like this for another soldier.
The family we originally built for was very nice and it was great getting to know another wounded veteran.
Unfortunately due to circumstances outside of his control, the wounded soldier and his family were not able to stay in this house so he and his family chose to do the best thing they could have done, they returned the home built for them to Operation Finally Home in mid 2013.
At that point, David Martin asked me to submit my name to Operation Finally Home (OFH). I did, never really thinking I was a good candidate.
David then put me in charge of making sure the house was ready to present to whomever the next wounded veteran family would be.
In mid October, a phone call from OFH came to me for a phone interview which went well. But I was told I would hear back in a day or two and I never did, so I just assumed that they found a different family and I was just waiting for a day to be told when we were going to be giving the house to a different family.
Much to my surprise, my family was given the house at my churches annual Thanksgiving potluck.
Since this day, our blessings have multiplied. Just days after we were given the keys to our home, H-E-B who is one of the sponsors of Operation Finally Home, brought us a house-full of groceries, toiletries and cleaning supplies. With this we were able to celebrate, for the first time, Thanksgiving in a home of our own.
This house, this organization, Operation Finally Home and Permian Homes has blessed my family in so many ways. David offered a wounded veteran recovering more from psychological wounds than anything, a chance to begin a new life. He offered a veteran who had no skills in construction and trained him and taught him and showed him what to do.
This is my first real job as a civilian so I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think this is what most companies, most presidents, most owners do for their employees…I don’t think they take care of them the way Permian Homes takes care of their employees.
I owe everything I have to Permian Homes. From the roof over my head (quite literally) to the clothes on my back and the food in my children’s stomachs, I owe everything to Permian Homes.” -Emil Busby