TAYLOR, MI – Christopher Holcomb served the nation as a Marine in Afghanistan, spearheading the global fight against terrorism. He also bore the scars of being in a forward combat position, sustaining a serious injury during his Afghanistan deployment. And like so many wounded veterans, Holcomb and his family’s re-entry into civilian life in his home state of Michigan has been challenging, especially in the years following the 2008 recession.
Today, their community is helping make the transition a little easier, when volunteers, local businesses, union carpenters and well-wishers surprised Christopher, his wife Darcy and their 3-year-old daughter Veyda with a new home in Taylor.
And for Christopher Holcomb, 25, the struggle to find a good job also ended today, when he was presented with a “letter of intent to hire” from construction company Barton Malow through the national Helmets to Hardhats program. The employment offer kicks off Holcomb’s training as a professional skilled carpenter and paid apprentice, ready to leap into Michigan’s recovering construction industry.
“Michigan carpenters are really proud that we could give back to Christopher Holcomb and his family, who have sacrificed so much to protect all of us and our way of life,” said Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, whose members volunteered for weeks to refurbish a house on Polk Street in Taylor, braving the infamous Polar Vortex that trapped the nation in sub-zero blizzard conditions for weeks. “Carpenters are honored to welcome Christopher Holcomb and his wonderful family to their new home –and to Christopher’s new role as a member of our proud brotherhood of professional carpenters. Together, I know we’ll build a solid future for Michigan and the Holcomb family.”
The Holcomb family home is made possible with funds from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. What began as a modest project to rehabilitate one local house evolved into a larger one that brought the entire community together, working collaboratively to assist a veteran in need. In addition to many hours of donated labor and skill from carpenters, others stepped up. The City of Taylor installed a new foundation for the house, heating and cooling, an on-demand hot water system, a sliding door, a front porch, a rear deck, and new roof and siding for the garage. The Home Depot Foundation and local Home Depot store donated a wide range of material.
And Schoolcraft Community College District is also offering 3-year-old Veyda a college scholarship.