On March 22 the Helping a Hero organization paired with Bass Pro Shops to break ground on building a special home for retired, double-amputee Marine veteran, Eric Frazier. The ground breaking ceremony was a huge celebration for the retired Lance Corporal, with country singer Lee Greenwood, and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee both being present. Greenwood closed the ceremony with a performance of “God Bless the U.S.A.” but not before festivities for all involved, and a parade in celebration for the veteran. This parade led Frazier and his family to the lot and was led by the high school band as well as cheerleaders, the school choir and the AFJROTC.
Sergeant JD Williams and Corporal Sue Downes were also present at the celebration, having received homes from the Helping a Hero organization prior to Frazier. Meredith Iler, founder and chairman of the organization too was present at the ceremony, including an American bald eagle named Challenger. Challenger is an impressive 32 years old. The American Eagle Foundation is to thank for Challenger’s presence at the exciting event.
Frazier came from a faith-based family, putting God first, and having a strong sense of duty to the country. The retired Marine wanted to be a soldier from the age of five so he could be like his father who also served as a Marine. A massive part of Frazier’s calling came from his great grandfather as well, who served in World War II. The family commitment to country ran deeper than that as well, with Frazier’s grandfather and uncle also serving in the Army and Navy.
Frazier joined the USMC in 2003. In 2006, he was deployed to Iraq where while on patrol, his Humvee encountered an IED which changed life for Frazier forever. Days after the explosion, Frazier awoke in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Upon awakening, Frazier realized his arm was in a cast, his jaw was broken, his hands were severely damaged and both legs were gone. Frazier, being an avid hunter from Morrison, Tennessee, worried less about his legs, but more about how he would ever hunt again. The tough Marine powered through, however, learning to walk on his new prosthetics in just a mere matter of months. After learning to walk again and enduring countless hours of intense physical therapy, Frazier ventured across the street, where he was able to learn to shoot again. This feat was made possible by the armed forces use of Laser Shot, which is a state of the art firing range simulator used to train active duty service members. Laser Shot is also donating a simulator to be installed inside of the veteran’s new home.
After being injured, Frazier’s father reenlisted as an active member of the National Guard where he was deployed to Iraq to take Frazier’s place. “My dad felt that if I was willing to go over there and die for my country, that he should too,” Frazier stated, talking about his father’s heroism. “That’s the brotherhood of the military. That’s how you feel about each other there. You focus on bringing each other home.”
Frazier’s love of hunting and fishing is something that he plans to share with his family. The LCpl found love when he hired a baby-sitter, Erika, for his young daughter. Erika is a Manchester preschool teacher, and together with Frazier, they have four young children.
Due to the veteran’s amputations, Helping a Hero has put much thought into their design for the Frazier’s new home. The home will include wider doors, as well as roll under sinks. The bathrooms will be adapted providing abundant mobility for the Marine, including a roll-in shower. All safety features within the house will as well cater to the needs of the Frazier’s to ensure freedom and comfort for the family.
Helping a Hero is an organization that strives to provide the best for veterans in need. The non-profit welcomes donations and nominations alike. The helpful people at Helping a Hero encourage all to reach out to help veterans in need. For more information, all are welcome to visit www.helpingahero.org.