MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As the first project of its kind in Minnesota, a charity donated the comforts of home to a Prior Lake veteran over Memorial Day weekend.
Todd Everson is a 30-year-old Army National Guard veteran and he got a deck Saturday built from donated materials and labor. It was all part of being Minnesota’s first recipient of the Deck for a Solider Project.
“I am not a lucky guy that gets picked to do stuff, you know,” Everson said. “I just filled out this application, and they said I was in the top three. And when they said I got the deck, I was just stunned.”
Local deck builders, however, say it was more than luck. They picked Everson, they said, because of his humble heroism.
“We went through a long process of finding and selecting the candidate that was most deserving for this project,” said said Pat Noonan, president of the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) Minnesota chapter, which sponsored the deck project.
“[Everson] is a Minnesota Medal of Valor and Bronze Star recipient, and for a guy as humble as he is, it was nice to do something that he will always remember and cherish,” Noonan said. “I envision Todd and his family out here having a nice dinner, knowing he deserves to be appreciated for what he has done.”
Four years ago, on Memorial Day, Everson was in a dangerous desert stretch in Iraq. In 2006, his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb. Everson is credited with racing into danger to help wounded soldiers and saving the life of State House Rep. John Kriese, who lost both of his legs in that blast.
It’s over Memorial Day weekend when Everson thinks of his fellow troops — those who served and those who didn’t come home.
Everson says he is now grateful for the simple joys, like enjoying an afternoon in the backyard with his two young daughters.
“It’s hard to explain when somebody else does something like this for you, hard to put into words how much you appreciate it,” Everson said.
The North American Deck and Railing Association says they hope to help more soldiers like Everson next year.
So far, they’ve built 16 decks for soldiers nationwide, and hope to help twice as many soldiers next year. They’ll build three decks in three states this Memorial Day weekend alone.