White Heart Supports a Deserving Veteran (Literally) From the Ground Up
On June 18, 2011, while on a night patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan, Marine Cpl. Caleb Getscher stepped on an IED. The intense blast instantly severed his left leg below the knee. He narrowly survived the initial explosion, and due to the combination of infection and substantial tissue and bone damage, Cpl. Getscher also lost his right leg above the knee and his left arm below the elbow.
“Freedom is a right ultimately defended by the sacrifice of America's servicemen and women,” the great philosopher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, once said.
Well, the White Heart Foundation believed Cpl. Getscher had given enough and deserved something in return. On April 25, 2019, the White Heart crew, along with some friends, invaded Leonardtown, Maryland to complete the final stages of construction on a grand basement for Cpl. Getscher.
Another generous nonprofit built Cpl. Getscher and his wife, Emily, an incredible handicap accessible home, but ran out of money before they could finish the subterranean level. A wonderful gift from another group who recognized the sacrifice the Getscher family has made. Then the White Heart Foundation raised some funds and eagerly stepped in to complete the couple’s dream home—that includes a gym, office area, recreation room, spare bedroom, and a play area made special for their eight-year-old daughter, Camily.
In a humbling display of benevolence, the Getscher family received a glorious amount of community support from the folks of Leonardtown to complete the build. Some volunteers came from as far as Detroit, many of whom are veterans themselves, and were looking to give back after receiving care through White Heart’s Guardian Project program.
The build attracted not just veterans but plenty of compassionate, generous people from the civilian sector, as well. Nicole Curtis, the host of HGTV’s Rehab Addict, donated her time and brought some volunteers to help with the project. Curtis also sponsored a photoshoot for the family, who, unfortunately, had few family portraits to hang around their beautiful new home.
Sherwin Williams donated paint and labor, Avis Car Rental supplied a couple of trucks, BuilderUp contributed framing supplies and doors, Metropolitan Fire Protection beefed up the home’s fire control system, Royal USA Incorporated donated a sink, Home Depot supplied materials, and D&G Kustom Specialties contributed some custom decals to liven up the new basement.
And on top of all the monetary, logistical, and material support, a few local restaurants graciously provided free meals for more than twelve volunteers. Many thanks to: Big Larry’s Eatery, Tall Timbers Marina, Jessie’s Kitchen, Leonardtown Grille, and Chief’s Bar/WJ Dent & Sons Grocery Store for feeding a slew of hungry workers, volunteers, and veterans.
To put the final, homey touches on the place, along with the photoshoot provided by Curtis, the football-loving Getscher family was surprised with Nebraska Cornhuskers decorations and gear, a pool table, and a wall collage of family pictures. The final result was revealed to the family on May 4th.
In a text to the folks back at White Heart, Emily Getscher said the basement has been in constant use since its completion. “We are spending every minute in that basement watching movies, playing pool, Cami is absolutely loving her doll area and Caleb and I just started working out together in the gym,” she wrote.
The Getscher family plans to celebrate and continue to show their gratitude by hosting a basement christening the day of the Cornhuskers’ season opener on Saturday, August 31st.
White Heart’s Executive Director, Ryan Sawtelle, noted, “The Getschers are some of the most humble and appreciative people we have ever worked with. They are such a strong, resilient and deserving family and we could not be happier with this community and how this build turned out.”
Alec McPike is a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran, grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and is currently a freelance writer and blogger living in Los Angeles.