Homes on the Homefront - presents to another Deserving Military Family
Operation Homefront and Chase
were excited to donate another home this week to a deserving military family as
part of the new Homes on the Homefront program. “This is a dream come true.
After all those years in recovery, I never knew if I was going to make it back
home,” said Keelan Southerland as he was reuniting with his family at the new
house they received in Liberty Lake, WA. “I am so grateful to Operation
Homefront, and the people who support our troops.”
its Homes on the Homefront program, Operation Homefront is giving mortgage-free
homes to qualified service members and veterans. Donated by Chase
Bank, the homes are in communities around the country. One such
home was located just miles away from where Southerland grew up in Liberty Lake,
Wa. Meeting the program’s criteria, the Southerlands were selected
to be one of the first recipients of one of the donated homes.
This also was the “welcome home” from his unit, which took part in a
small ceremony to welcome Southerland home to Washington as well as to the house
provided through Operation Homefront.
Southerland’s recovery will be less painful now as he rebuilds his life and
raises a family in a place that truly feels like home. Here's the rest of his
After being deployed from his hometown of Spokane,
WA, Army National Guard veteran, Specialist Keelan Southerland found himself
stationed at an airbase in Balad, Iraq. Serving as a central hub for Air Force
airlift operations, this base also acted as the main point for Army convoys to
pick up and disperse supplies. Although the base was considered to be a
logistical area, Keelan was always concerned about enemy attacks because the
base was such a vital asset towards the United States’ war effort.
Working on convoy duty, carrying essential supplies, Southerland was
often traversing hostile terrain. In this type of duty, one always felt like
there was a target on their back. Then on Christmas Eve, of all days,
Southerland’s truck was hit by a rocket. Flung into the air as his vehicle was
destroyed, it was a miracle that he was still alive. His back was broken; he was
deafened by the explosion, and blinded by a green laser from the sight of a
weapon. But he survived. Now Southerland would have to face a different kind of
road, the long road of recovery.
Upon returning home to the
United States, he was hospitalized in San Antonio, TX where he could focus on
one thing, fighting to get better. With his wife by his side, Southerland spent
the next two years slowly making progress. His main obstacle was overcoming
multiple spinal surgeries. This would affect him the rest of his life. Although
he is mobile, his spine is fused. Consequently, he may still have to go through
more surgeries in the future. His wife is still getting used to his damaged
vision and hearing, and she is with him every step of the way. He has been
continually making significant progress to regain his strength and
Being hospitalized down in San Antonio was
another burden for the Southerlands. Everything he knew was back home in
Spokane. However, due to the injuries he sustained and the cost of living in
Washington, he wasn’t sure how he was going to make it back. With some savings
and a student loan, Southerland was planning on staying and working in Texas
until he could make his way back. It was while he was hospitalized that he found
out about the Army Homefront Fund and Operation Homefront through another
Wounded Warrior. After reaching out and getting in contact, it seems that he
finally got the break that he was looking for.
to the Southerlands!
Find out more about our Homes on the Homefront program.