NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – What happens to veterans severely injured in combat after the parades and welcome home parties end?
The idea that they are forgotten is exactly what one Nashville couple is working hard to prevent.
Marine Jeremy Voels has been in a hospital bed in Nashville since 2010. He was 20 years old when sniper fire tore through his body, paralyzed him and ended his tour in Afghanistan.
Don and Pam Ross are doing much more than just visiting Voels these days. In a way, they’ve adopted him.
The nonprofit Joshua Chamberlain Society finds ways to improve the lives of severely wounded heroes.
“He’s on a fixed income, doesn’t come from a wealthy family,” Don Ross said. “His kids were here because they live out of town with their mother. We put them up in a hotel for four to five days. All kinds of different things.”
Channel 4 first reported on Voels in April. He has now survived more than 200 surgeries and met the president, but he still isn’t comfortable with the word “hero.”
“To me, I’m not a hero. I’m just a guy who knew what he was doing. I signed the dotted line to make sure my family and my friends had a free country to stay in,” Voels said in April.
When Voels finally goes home, his house will be ready for him.
“We did an addition on his home,” Don Ross said. “He was having difficulty with the VA or his parents were having difficulty with the VA, getting plans built and whatnot, so we said, ‘Forget it, we’ll just do it ourselves.’ And we did.”
A handful of veterans are currently receiving help from the Josh Chamberlain Society. Planned fundraisers, concerts and other events are expected to benefit more veterans.
Don Ross said it’s their way of living the words “never forget.”
“We adopt them for life, so it’s a big commitment. We stay with them and don’t forget them,” he said.
Randy Soriano, a graduate of Brentwood High School, founded the original Chamberlain chapter in St. Louis.
The nonprofit survives and helps more veterans through donations. Richland Country Club will host a fundraising event for them next weekend.
This article originally appeared on WSMV-TV Nashville August 31,2016