May 20, 2016

Duncansville, Blair County, Pa.


The famous country music band The Oak Ridge Boys was in town today. They were singing for a groundbreaking celebration. But the event wasn’t about them.

Navy Veteran Jeff Campbell grew up in Hollidaysburg. He graduated from Slippery Rock and then joined the Navy. His diagnosis of multiple sclerosis has presented him with a number of challenges, even inside of his own home. But now, thanks to a program called Helping a Hero, his life is getting a little bit easier.

“I was extremely overwhelmed at the outpouring from the community. It was absolutely wonderful,” Jeff Campbell said.

Campbell worked on the U.S.S. George Washington as a nuclear electrician. It was during that time that he was exposed to unknown substances that caused his multiple sclerosis and caused the loss of movement in his arms and legs. It’s a challenge that has affected his entire family.

Campbell’s wife Aimee, said, “I watched my husband fall down the stairs from top to bottom three times because he couldn’t feel his feet and as a wife, you feel kind of helpless, how do you help your husband?”

That’s why Helping a Hero decided to get involved. The national organization is building an accessible home in Duncansville for Campbell, his wife and their four children.

Campbell said, “It’s been four years since we’ve had someplace that we can call our own. Someplace where we can have our family together.”

Campbell often uses a wheelchair to get around. So, the home will have wider doors, a roll-in shower, a roll-in sink, and other features — like the ability for Campbell to get in and out of his home quickly in the case of an emergency.

“I don’t think words can describe how wonderful that is,” said Aimee.

Helping a Hero has built more than 100 homes for injured veterans across the country. This is their second in Pennsylvania.

Meredith Iler, Chairman Emeritus of Helping a Hero, said, “It’s really been a privilege to get to know Jeff Campbell and his family. Not only appreciate the service and the sacrifice that he has but also the needs not only he has today but the needs he will have in the future.”

Iler says this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community, including many local rotary clubs. They’re proud to help wounded veterans in a very tangible way.

The Campbells are hoping to move into their new home by December.

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Source: National organization helps local hero