AUTRYVILLE — Veteran Chris Corbin is looking forward to receiving his dream home in 2018.
Last month, Corbin, an Army Ranger and Green Beret took a shovel and dug up some dirt in the location of the future structure, thanks to Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors (JAH4WW). It was established by Allen, a Carolina Panthers football player. He formed the organization to help injured veterans after returning home from a trip to military bases in the Middle East. For the project in Autryville, JAH4WW partnered with the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund on the project, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to help disabled veterans such as Corbin.
His life changed forever in 2011. During his third tour to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom, Corbin was on patrol through a village in the Helmand Province when he stepped on a improvised explosive device (IED) and suffered injuries to his legs, resulting in bilateral, below-the-knee amputation.
“Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors has been a great organization to work with and be around,” Corbin said. “They’re good people.”
Southeastern General Contractors is leading the constructing for the home. During the groundbreaking, Ralph Locklear, owner of the business, promised to put 110 percent effort into the project.
“The guy’s just awesome,” Corbin said about Locklear. “I can’t say enough good stuff about him. They’ve been working with me and making exactly what I hope would happen come a reality.”
Corbin picked the location for his future home, which will be handicapped accessible. He will not have to pay for any mortgage or construction costs. The estimated time frame for completion is May or June 2018. In meantime, Corbin is staying active with the organization and enjoy life in Sampson County.
“I glad to live in my country town of Autryville,” he said. “The community is great, I know lots of folks around here and we stay pretty active with the good farm folks around here.”
Originally from New Orleans, he grew up in a military family that settled in Robeson County, where his parents still live. His father, Master Sgt. Nelson Corbin, is also a Green Beret and his mother, Jan, a school teacher working with exceptional children at Parkton Middle School.
Officials from JAH4WW said Corbin continues to motivate others by leading by example. In 2012, 13 months after the injury, he participated in a 5K race with his farther. It was his first time running in one, which benefited the Fisher House on Eglin Air Force Base. With determination and motivation from his dad and teammates, he finished the race in 27 minutes and 34 seconds.
“I try to stay active and I still try to stay healthy,” he said about being active.
Corbin was promoted to master sergeant by the United States Department of Defense this year. Corbin joined the military in 1995 and became a Green Beret with the 7th Special Forces Group, Airborne. He also served in other U.S. Army units such as the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne from 1995 to 1999, and the 1st Battalion, and 75th Ranger Regiment from 1999 to 2002.
Betty Rhoades, director of national capital relationships for JAH4WW, said the organizations loves working with veterans such as Corbin. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in October. The home’s foundation was recently finished and other work such as framing, will begin shortly. Rhoades and other supporters are looking forward to handing over the keys in several months when the home is completed.
“We’re really proud and honored to be a small part of their journey and of their service,” Rhoades said. “It’s the least we can do to help.”
During the ceremony, Alex Karalexis of JAH4WW, spoke about the importance of supporting veterans, who served their country. Along with Southeastern General Contractors, some of the other sponsors are The Home Depot, Gore Heating & A/C, inc., and Wayside Landscaping.
“Just saying it is not enough,” he said. “It’s actions. You have to do it.”