Groundbreaking on home for hero Saturday near Port Angeles

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A Marine corporal who lost both his legs below the knee while serving in Afghanistan is expected to be on hand for the groundbreaking of his new home just east of Port Angeles at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The home, free to Marine Cpl. Ammon Lang and his family, will be the first project in Washington state spearheaded by Massachusetts-based Homes for Our Troops, according to FaLeana Wech, executive officer of the North Peninsula Building Association.

The groundbreaking will be at 72 Hidden Highlands Drive east of the city limit.

The building association is teaming up with Sequim-based Hines Construction to oversee construction and organize the volunteer time and materials that will be used to build the home, Wech said in an email.

It is looking for volunteers and donations.

The home will be adapted specifically for Lang's needs, according to the Homes for Our Troops website at

Lang was on his first deployment when he stepped on an undetected improvised explosive device in Sangin, Afghanistan, on June 11, 2011, the website says.

His left leg was blown off above the knee, and his right leg eventually was amputated below the knee.

After two weeks in Landstuhl, Germany, he was airlifted to Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland, where he remained for nearly two weeks before being transferred to Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

He and his wife, Kiri, have two sons.

Wech said he believes Lang is originally from Las Vegas.

Although she couldn't say why he's moving here, Wech said she understands that he enjoys the outdoors.

“I'm sure it's the lifestyle of the Olympic Peninsula,” she said.

Homes for Our Troops has given the keys of 129 houses to wounded veterans in 35 states since 2004, all of which have been delivered mortgage-free to the veterans, said Jennifer Reed, Homes for Our Troops public relations director.

Lang will fly in from Nebraska to attend the groundbreaking, but because of Homes for Our Troops' confidentiality policy, Reed said she couldn't say whether he lives there.

Reed said Lang first applied for the home-building project last March and was accepted last summer.

As part of the application process, Lang submitted financial information, and attended a Homes for Our Troops conference in Massachusetts, where he and other veterans applying for a home were familiarized with the program and allowed to choose certain design elements for their individual homes, Reed said.

Reed said the longest part of a given home-building project often is finding a suitable piece of land where the veteran wants to live.

“That really determines how long it takes [for us] to start the project on their behalf,” she said.

The nonprofit Homes for Our Troops relies on both large corporate sponsors to fund home projects and individual donations from the community where a given home will be built, which Reed said has been most anything from auctions to spaghetti dinners to lemonade stands.

“You name it, we've had folks do it for us as fundraisers,” Reed said.

Reed could not say how much Lang's specific home will be worth, but she said the national average for houses Homes for Our Troops builds is $400,000.

More information on Lang and how to donate can be found at the Homes for Our Troops website.

To donate or volunteer with the North Peninsula Building Association on the home-building project, phone the building association at 360-452-8160 or email Wech at

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Last modified: April 24. 2013 6:18PM
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