SAINT JOHN – Dressed in their combat gear, a group of soldiers in Saint John took out their nail guns Tuesday to help build a home for families in need.
The home is being built by Habitat for Humanity.
Master Cpl. David Keirstead says when he was asked to volunteer, he immediately stepped up.
“That’s what we do, that’s why we serve our country, so when we get a chance to serve here in Canada or overseas that’s what we do,” he said.
This week, he and members of 4 Engineer Support Regiment, Gagetown, put their skills to work to build a home in Saint John for Eugene Byers and his six young kids.
“The apartment we live in now, our kids have no backyard to play in, they are stuck indoors day in and day out,” he said. “This house they are going to have their own backyard, own play toys outside, it’s just going to be a total change for everybody for the best.”
He says for the soldiers to be here working 12 hours a day to build his family a home, on the day before Remembrance Day, simply means “everything.”
“It’s really a perfect partnership when you think about having them on site being an engineering unit but also it’s a training exercise for them,” said Brad Peters with Habitat for Humanity in Saint John.
The regiment is not only giving back to the community, it’s actually simulating building a temporary military hospital.
“With a lot of our overseas deployments we don’t get a chance to stay as current so this really gives us an opportunity to stay current,” said Kierstead.
He says it also gives them an opportunity to support a family during a time when soldiers need support of their own.
Kierstead says swinging a hammer for a family in need reminds him how grateful he is to be alive and well enough to serve.
“I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and I lost a lot of really good friends and that’s what I like to do on Remembrance Day is think about the people who didn’t come home and kind of thank God for the family I do have and the time I have here,” he said.
“I can’t say thank you enough to the military,” said Byers.