By Lt. Gregory Crowe, AA/Public Information Officer
High Desert State Prison
Military mothers, also known as the Soaring Eagle Blue Star Moms from High Desert State Prison and California Correctional Center, held a 5K and a 1-Mile Run/Walk to help build a home for wounded Marine Cpl. Joshua Hotaling.
The effort is part of the nonprofit group, Homes for Our Troops, which seeks to build homes for severely wounded soldiers.
The event took place at the Susanville Ranch Park in Susanville on Oct. 4.
The special guest was Marine Cpl. Josh Hotaling.
Cpl. Hotaling was on his first deployment when he suffered the traumatic amputations of both of his legs and severe hand injuries in an improvised-explosive device (IED) blast in Sangin, Afghanistan, on May 13, 2011.
In Susanville, Cpl. Hotaling was air lifted into the event by local air ambulance, Mountain Lifeflight.
As he made his way from the helicopter to the starting line, he was given a hand salute from local Patriot Guard Riders, veterans and law enforcement, as racing participants clapped, cheered and waved American flags.
The terrain was uneven and difficult for Cpl. Hotaling to maneuver, giving all a real glimpse into the reality of the life of a double amputee. The event brought in 181 participants in the 5K and 1-mile run/walk.
Even though Cpl. Hotaling lives more than three hours away from the small town of Susanville, the Blue Star Moms made him one of their own, raising more than $16,000 for his home build.
The Homes for Our Troops build for Cpl. Hotaling is scheduled to start soon in Loomis.
The majority of the Blue Star Moms consist of correctional, medical and support staff and spouses from High Desert State Prison and California Correctional Center. As of now, the moms have raised more than $28,000 for Homes for Our Troops, Wounded Warrior Project and Semper Fi Fund.
The Blue Star Moms thanked HDSP and CCC California Correctional Peace Officer Associations for donating $6,000 to Cpl. Hotaling’s home build.
What is Homes for Our Troops?
According to their website, Homes for Our Troops is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes nationwide for the most severely injured veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Most of these veterans are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic or suffered severe traumatic brain injury.
“These homes restore some of the freedom and independence our veterans sacrificed defending ours, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery and rebuilding their lives,” the website states. “Since its inception in 2004, over 90 percent of donations to Homes for Our Troops has gone to directly support veterans.”
Learn more about the organization at https://www.hfotusa.org/
(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)
CDCR employees honor veterans with recollections (in two parts), http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/11/cdcr-employees-honor-veterans-with-tales-part-1/
Avenal State Prison recognized for its work with veterans, http://www.insidecdcr.ca.gov/2014/08/avenal-state-prison-recognized-for-dedication-to-military-veterans-staff-and-inmates/