MARIETTA - A local military hero received a warm welcome and thank you from members of the Marietta Moose Lodge on Saturday evening.
U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry was surprised when the Moose Riders, a philanthropic motorcycle organization within the Moose Lodge family, gave him $3,100 towards the construction of his "smart" home in Reno.
"This is really nice of the Moose Riders," Hockenberry said. "After the concert this summer, I thought all of this was done, but I'm learning there is always something happening."
Photo by Jolene Craig
U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle Hockenberry, front center, poses with Marietta Moose Riders members, from left to right, Skeet Bore, Bruce Phipps, Karen Phipps, Kelly Steward, Gary Secoy, Hank Steward, Elwin Armann, Carol Armann and Jeff Armann in the Marietta Moose Lodge on Saturday as the philanthropic organization donated $3,100 to the construction of Hockenberry’s “smart” home in Reno.
Hank Steward, with the Moose Riders, said the organization wanted to thank Hockenberry for his sacrifice and service to his country.
"We wanted to surprise him with the donation, but also to honor him for what he has given," Steward said.
When the Marietta chapter of the Moose Riders organized nine months ago, it had to choose two organizations to raise funds for and while the Riders' own children's charity is one, Wounded Warriors was the group this chapter chose to work for.
"We wanted to keep the money local and help the local veterans and with Wounded Warriors, we are able to do that," Steward said.
"It's hard to see a young man like Kyle get hurt and we all believe in the Red, White and Blue, so being able to do this for him is something we are proud of."
The surprise on Saturday took place while Hockenberry has been home on a Christmas break from rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas. He has been receiving treatment there for more than a year.
The latest donation will go with many others to help Hockenberry - a Marietta resident who lost both legs and his left arm after being caught in the blast of an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Afghanistan in June 2011 - move into his own home to help him live more independently.
Earlier this year, it was announced the Gary Sinise Foundation and Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation were teaming up to build a "smart" house specially designed for Hockenberry in Reno through their Building for America's Bravest program. Since then numerous individuals, groups and businesses have contributed to the funding. The house is estimated to cost about $375,000, according to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
Funding for the home, which is one of 16 built through Building for America's Bravest for U.S. soldiers injured while serving their country, is around the 70 percent mark.
Each home is custom-designed to meet the needs of the soldier for which it is built.
The Marietta concert by Sinise's Lt. Dan Band in August raised more than $200,000 for Hockenberry's home. Since then tradesmen, organizations, businesses and individuals have donated money, supplies and time to the construction.
"Building a 'smart' house is not cheap and we figured every little bit we can do to help Kyle get home and be able to move on with his life, we will do," said Kelly Steward with Moose Riders.