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Ground breaking held for special addition to Kent home

By Staff | Jul 12, 2011
TIFFANY REPECKI U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Kent attends a ground-breaking ceremony for an addition to his home Tuesday morning with his parents, Tiffany Ashby, left, and stepfather, Dan Ashby, right. The addition is a project organized and donated through the U.S. Forces Fund, with the help of many others.
TIFFANY REPECKI U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Kent raises an American flag with his stepfather, right, Dan Ashby, on a flag pole that was donated as part of the addition to their home. The flag raising was held after the ground breaking Tuesday.

In about three months, an addition to U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Kent’s home is expected to be completed that will provide him with his own living space.
The 500-square-foot addition will be built onto his parents’ home.
The U.S. Forces Fund, a non-profit group created by former television news anchor Trey Radel, began working on the addition a couple of months ago as a way for Kent to maintain his independence while still living close to his family.
One year ago Tuesday, Kent lost both of his legs and the fingers on his left hand when an improvised explosive device, or IED, exploded while he served in Afghanistan. Kent was only three weeks into serving his first tour overseas.
Over the past year, he has been at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland, where he has been recovering and undergoing rehabilitation.
On Tuesday, a ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held outside of Kent’s home, at 3828 S.W. 10th Place. Construction will begin Wednesday.
“Today is about the future,” Radel told the crowd of supporters.
The addition will be a self-sustained living space that includes a kitchenette and a bathroom, according to Todd Gates of Gates Construction. It will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and will be move-in ready.
“Curtains and everything,” Gates said.
Gates Construction is the project’s general contractor.
About $75,000 is needed to complete the addition. The group is about 90 percent to 95 percent there, Gates said Tuesday. They have received cash donations, as well as in-kind donations, which includes materials and labor.
Dozens of companies have pitched in, including the city of Cape Coral.
“It’s mind blowing,” Radel said of the immediate outpouring of support his organization received on the project from local contractors, an industry that has been “decimated” in recent years.
“And here they are stepping up in a big way,” Radel said.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, one woman in the audience donated $1,000.
Kent and his parents expressed their thanks to the community.
“I really appreciate all of the support,” Kent said, adding that he was surprised at how large the turnout was Tuesday.
He added that he is excited about the addition’s completion.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Kent said.
At the end of Tuesday’s ceremony, Kent and his stepfather, Dan Ashby, raised an American flag on a new flag pole donated as part of the addition.
Kent will be home through the early part of August, after which he will return to Walter Reed to continue his therapy. He could be home by the end of next year, his family has reported.
A dedication ceremony will be held when he returns home to stay.
Radel said the Kent project is the first of many for the U.S. Forces Fund.
For more information, visit the website: www.usforcesfund.com.