The Spring Creek drum group and U.S. Marine Cpl. Phillip Baldwin. The drum group sung for the key ceremony on July 15.
By MONTE MCKEAN
FORT HALL — On Saturday July 15, Homes for Our Troops conducted a key ceremony for U.S. Marine Cpl. Phillip Baldwin to receive his new custom built home.
The home was designed for Phillip who was injured when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED) June 18, 2011 while he was in Afghanistan. The injury resulted in the loss of his legs and damage to his left hand and right hip.
Homes for Our Troops is a non-profit organization that helps veterans post 9/11. They build specially designed homes for veterans all around the country. The houses are mortgage free. So far they have built houses in 41 states and Phillip’s home is also their first tribal home they have built.
The key ceremony was at his new house and it began with him being escorted by the Fort Hall Police Department, veterans on motorcycles, along with others. Spring Creek Singers sang a flag song.
Key ceremony motorcycle escort.
Craig “Doc” Clement from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association presented Phillip a vest with a Marine Corps emblem, a wooden flag with a Purple Heart emblem in it, and a mini fridge. They welcomed him as a part of them, because he is a combat vet. Tinker Perkins from the Fort Hall Veteran’s organization also spoke and after him Firhana Hibbert, Sen. Mike Crapo’s regional director, read a letter from Crapo that thanked him for his service to our country and continued contributions to the community. “May this house remind you of the love and gratitude that surrounds you from the Idahoans and Americans who live in freedom and security because of your service,” the letter read. “I wish you great rest and happiness in your new home and join in blessing this house: God bless you and keep you. Thank you for your service and welcome home.”
Bill Ivey, Homes for Our Troops executive director, said the non-profit organization builds homes for veterans and also help rebuild their lives after military service.
The ribbon cutting of the house was next where Phillip also received the keys. Spring Creek Singers sang “Soldier Boy” for an honor song for Baldwin. Following that was the blessing of the house and once it was done the house was open for people to tour and see the house for themselves.
Phillip’s mother Vicki Baldwin was in awe of the home he received. She knew he applied about six years ago. Phillip had ideas on where to live such as Boise and California, but his mom advised him, “Phil why don’t you live here? This is where you were raised and this is your home.” She said her mother gave her land and since she wasn’t doing anything with it, it became the site of his new home. “He is surrounded by family with his grandpa being just around the corner,” Vicki said.
Phillip’s father Bruce Baldwin also had a few things to say about the event. “It’s a house to be proud of.” “It’s great that the community can show their support for Phillip. Homes For our Troops really made it possible for him to be independent and adapt to the new home.” He said he would like to thank everyone for coming and helping make it possible from the flag song to the blessing of the home.
Baldwin performs the ribbon cutting at the key ceremony to his new house.
Phillip said he was, “Grateful and humble.” There are wider hallways and he was happy about the features the house had to offer. He was glad how everything worked out and all those who came and said, “Words cannot describe the way I feel, but it’s definitely a good one.”
The home itself is tailored to Phillip with a variety of ways to make his life easier. The house is one story with all hardwood floors. There are raised outlets and lowered light switches for accessibility. There are also wider hallways, and a lot of open space so Phillip can get around easy. Ashley Furniture was very gracious to surprise Phillip with some furniture for the house.