Lance Cpl. Kevin Honaker came home a wounded hero over seven years ago, but now he is coming home to stay. On Oct. 23, 2021, the community gathered on Liberty Square to welcome a man who lost both of this legs while defending his country.
“It’s awesome. From the day I was injured, this community has always shown a ton of support, and they still do,” Honaker said about the crowd who gathered on Liberty Square and chanted his name as his vehicle arrived, which was led by the Run for the Wall motorcycle riders and emergency vehicle. “I really appreciate it.”
Honaker, who was wounded when he stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) during a routine patrol in Afghanistan, has been living in Atlanta where he operates a lighting company. His home in Atlanta, however, keeps him on his prosthetics, and the hallways aren’t wide enough to give him a chance to use his wheelchair at home.
Homes For Our Troops specializes in finding builders who will construct homes that meets the needs of wounded post-9/11 veterans so they can live their lives fully and comfortably. The program will be providing Honaker with a home that has wider hallways, lowered appliances, a roll-in shower, and other amenities to make his home a place where he can be comfortable.
“They reached out to me while I was in the hospital and have called me every four months for about seven years now,” Honaker said;
Homes For Our Troops, which provides homes at no cost to the veterans they are serving, wanted him to know they were there for him when the time came that he was ready for his forever home.
“They were just waiting until I knew where I wanted to build and stay,” Honaker said.
For Honaker, the “where” was never a question, just the timing. Honaker has been running a lighting rental company, in Atlanta, with a friend who he says will stay in Georgia while he [Honaker] makes his home in Sparta and offers wired electrical services to White County and the surrounding area.
“I’ve always loved this community,” Honaker said of his hometown of Sparta. “I was born and raised here, and this is where I want to stay forever.”
And from the outpouring of support and the crowd that gathered to celebrate his Home For Our Troops kickoff, it would appear the community would like Honaker to stay here forever, too. In addition to cheering and waving as he approached the square and entered Christpoint Church, where the celebration was being hosted, the crowd signed lumber that would be used in the building of Honaker’s home. They gathered and listened to all of the great things that are being provided for veterans by the Homes For Our Troops organization. Senator Marsha Blackburn presented Honaker with a flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol, listened to the way the home changed the life of a previous recipient, and listened to Honaker’s story itself.
Once the building process gets underway, there will be a Volunteer Day for the community to help with Honaker’s home. After the home is completed, there will be a Key Ceremony in which Lance Cpl. Kevin Honaker and his fiancée, Rachel Payne, are given the keys to their new home.
“It’s going to be awesome. It’s set up for everything I need in life,” Honaker said of both his new home. “This is it. I don’t need anything else.”
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