‘Helping a Hero’ breaks ground on Limestone County home gifted to wounded veteran

Athens

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. — A groundbreaking happened Wednesday, all in honor of a U.S. Army veteran who lost his leg, fighting on the grounds in Afghanistan.

Nonprofit organization Helping a Hero, country music star Lee Greenwood, and Breland Homes teamed up to gift the local vet a new free home.

“Just surprised, shocked, still can’t believe it,” said SFC Scott Barkalow. “It’s beyond a dream.” Barkalow is a U.S. Army veteran. He was part of a 12-person special forces group sent to Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil.

“Scott Barkalow is the epitome of a special forces soldier,” said LTC Mike Jenne. “He’s one of the toughest, smartest, and most driven men that I’ve ever met.”

Barkalow served in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003, until he was wounded in battle.

“February 19th we rolled across Soviet anti Tank mine,” he remembers. “That’s how the explosion happened. That’s how I lost my leg.”

LTC Jenne says Barkalow was riding in a Toyota pickup truck when it hit the mine. While holding his hand in the helicopter flying to a hospital, Jenne says Barkalow wasn’t worried about himself. Instead, he was asking about his fellow soldiers. Barkalow received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service.

The very man who put his life on the line to serve this country got the surprise of a lifetime one month ago.

“October the 12th, I came into work because I wasn’t supposed to be at work because I was picking up a computer,” said Barkalow. “Then the Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Army walked through the door. He says I’m about to change your world and he did.”

That’s when Barkalow found out he was receiving a home from the Helping a Hero program.

“I’ve known about programs like this but I never thought I was worthy,” he said.

That very night, he was honored at Lee Greenwood’s tribute concert, “All Star Salute” at the Von Braun Center. The wounded warrior is one of the many veterans that inspire the singer-songwriter.

“You’re talking about a guy who went to war for us and he’s the tip of the spear when we started fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and one of the first ones to get wounded so badly and he never looked back,” said Greenwood.

The specially-made home will have ramps, wider doors, roll-in showers, and even a man cave! It’s a place he and Tina Barkalow will be able to call home. Breland Homes expects it to be finished by Summer 2022.

The groundbreaking Wednesday was for one of two Helping a Hero homes awarded. The second groundbreaking is set to take place in January.

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