CRYSTAL LAKES, Mo. — Thanks to volunteers with a local non-profit called KAMO Adventures, wounded warriors like James Wilson can get the necessary renovations done on his home that he says he so desperately needs.
“It’s been an emotional roller-coaster ride,” said 37-year-old Wilson, who was a truck driver in the Army.
“I got blown up twice, and shot twice in Iraq in 2004,” Wilson added. “Burnt my body over 50 percent, third degree.”
Wilson bought his house in Crystal Lakes in 2006 when he retired from the Army, a house he has difficulty keeping up.
“He’s living on a social security and disability pension, he’s got full custody of his 9-year-old daughter Lilly, and when we found out his house was in such bad shape, he’s not going to have the money to fix it,” said Bill Eckert, the vice president of KAMO Adventures.
KAMO Adventures is a non-profit that takes wounded and disabled veterans hunting and fishing and helps them get meaningful employment.
“Kind of give them some hope and help them get back on the road to recovery,” Eckert added.
Eckert says since 2011, they’ve helped dozens of wounded veterans.
“This James Wilson Project is a special project because James has been down to our farm, and we realized that his house was in such bad shape that somebody needed to do something about it,” Eckert said.
KAMO Adventures is 100 percent volunteer run, and all the money they collect goes to veterans like Wilson.
“The VA and the government can’t do everything that our veterans need for them to do,” said Eckert.
Wilson said he’s been promised things before, and it doesn’t always happen.
“I was really skeptical at first, it’s just kind of how things have been. Everything has been amazing,” Wilson added.
But now he has a working furnace, new roof, and a new deck, among other things.
“It’s stuff that I haven’t been able to do, or can’t do, but it’s more meaningful than words can say,” Wilson said. “It’s a lot of weight off my mind. They’re fixing stuff that I’ve been worried about for a long time now, and they’re making it safer for my daughter, and that in itself, I can’t thank them enough.”
It’s been a big improvement, but KAMO said there is still more work to do. A GoFundMe page has been set up for anyone who would like to help contribute to the home improvement fund.