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Veteran honored with gift of Laurel Lake home


      Army Veteran William Hutchinson, right, with his wife, Leslie, and three daughters: Riley, 7; Emma, 5; and Brooklyn, 4. Leslie is a former U.S. Army medic and is a full-time caregiver for her husband Behind them stand Terence Lewis of Portico Properties (far left) and Nelson Mayor Larry Ray.

By Ralph O. Dennis
Contributing writer
     Army veteran, Sgt. William Hutchinson, will be honored and thanked for his service with a new home for his family in Nelson. The home is being built and presented to the family as part of Operation Finally Home.

    According to their website, “Operation Finally Home was established in 2005 as a nonpartisan/nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. In 2015 Operation Finally Home is celebrating 10 years of providing custom-built,

mortgage-free homes to America’s military heroes and the widows of the fallen, those who have worn America’s uniform and sacrificed so much to defend our freedoms and values. Operation Finally Home partners with corporate sponsors, builder associations, builders, developers, individual contributors and volunteers to help America’s military heroes and their families transition to the home front by addressing one of their most pressing needs—a home to call their own. To find out more,”
    The groundbreaking for the Hutchinson home took place on September 10, in the Laurel Lakes subdivision in Nelson. The ceremony was conducted with members of American Legion Post 149 providing flags and acting as honor guard. Representatives of the subdivision homeowners’ association, the Home Depot Foundation, Southern Living magazine, Portico Properties and the press were in attendance.
  Learn more about Hutcheson at
    The soldier and his family found out they were going to receive the house while in Nashville, Tenn. They had been told that there was one more interview to be done as a final part of the process. When they arrived at the “interview” it was actually the Southern Living Builders Association banquet and they were told that they were receiving their home.
    Sgt. Hutchinson’s Wounded Warrior advocate was the one that started the ball rolling. As an advocate, Melvin Kearney is responsible for helping his warriors in completing paperwork, setting up appointments and generally helping their people.
    The home will be completed in late 2015 or early 2016. The next event to take place will be the Notes of Love event. This event allows anyone from the community, the subcontractors and members of the trades to write notes of love and encouragement on the framing of the house.  This is a custom for Operation Finally Home so that, even though the messages may be covered with dry wall, the family will feel like they are surrounded with love.
    Sgt. Hutchinson met his wife Leslie while both were stationed in Alaska. The family moved to Georgia since that is where his family roots are. Sgt. Hutchinson told the Progress that he “is thankful for Operation Finally Home, the Lord above and his family.”
    The dedication of the home and the presentation of the keys of this mortgage free home are scheduled for Jan. 29.