Cpl Baldwin Project{0}

** From Idaho State Journal **


Injured Marine learning to walk again

Home Depot donates to Baldwin’s recovery


After a devastating injury in Iraq, Marine Cpl. Philip Baldwin is learning to walk again. TheHome Depot Foundation and the Marine Corps League is making that easier — just in time for his birthday.

Friday afternoon Leif Thompson , general manager of Home Depot Pocatello, presented a gift card for $9,500 to representatives of the Marine Corps League. The funds will provide building materials and supplies to be used to make the Baldwin family home in Fort Hall wheelchair accessible.    A team of employees from Home Depot is volunteering to provide the labor for the project, as well as a team from the Marine Corps League. Work on the project is scheduled to take place on Feb. 11 and 18.

This project, and others like it, are part of Home Depot’s continuing effort to give back to the community through its national program “Team Depot.”   “We’re always looking for a great project to help us make a connection with the community,”Home Depot’s Thompson said.   There are a total of four contractors involved in the project; Kenny Hill, Frank Zellnick, George Chacon, and Rulon March.   “I’m more than happy to help out,” said Hill, “and to show that we’re grateful that he’s given service to our country.”

Baldwin is recovering from massive injuries sustained by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in June 2011. A radio operator with the First Battalion Fifth Marines, Baldwin lost his right leg up to his hip and his left leg to above the knee, and also sustained pelvic injuries. He is stillon active duty, currently undergoing treatment and therapy in San Diego.   Baldwin will soon be returning home for at least several weeks, and when he does, he will find his home a little easier to navigate. The family home will have ramps and a deck installed, and a bathroom revamped.

Baldwin’s mother, Vicki, said about the project, “It’s so great. I’m kind of shocked, I guess, that he is still in people’s thoughts, and that people are still asking about him. I guess I thought that this would be one of those ‘15-minute’ things.”   But Baldwin, who will be turning 22 soon, is still on the minds of his friends and fellow Marines of the Marine Corps League.   Marine veteran Ronald Papia is a member of the Marine Corps League, and has been spearheading the project for Baldwin. The MCL is a national organization of former Marines and fleet Marine Force Navy Corpsmen, whose mission is to care for the widows and orphans of Marines. That mission also extends to the general welfare of Marines and their families.   “We heard about the injury to Philip Baldwin and being Marines we wanted to see what we could do to help care for a fellow Marine,” Papia said. “We applied to the Home DepotFoundation because we heard they had funds to help veterans. We have the funding for the project because of the Home Depot grant, and they will also be providing workers.”   “He is doing really well, and walking here and there,” Vicki Baldwin said of her son. Baldwin will have another surgery in March.

As for her son’s future plans, those are not yet decided.   “He has his Purple Heart,” Vickie said, “and the G.I. Bill, so he is considering going to school. But he doesn’t know what he’s going to do yet. He has a lot of options.”   As Baldwin is learning to cope with his new physical reality, Vickie says that emotionally, her son is staying upbeat.   “He is so positive,” Vickie said. “He has his challenges, but they are more challenges than difficulties.

The physical part is to learn to walk again, and to adapt. But his friends have really been stepping up to help him.”   Baldwin comes from a family steeped in military service. His older brother, Patrick has recently completed his service in the Marines after tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Patrick is now helping to take care of his brother in San Diego.   Baldwin’s younger brother, Alan, has recently achieved the rank of PFC in the Marines, and is continuing his training. Mother Vickie, who now works in Indian Health Services for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, spent six years in the Navy, and recently retired from the Air Force Reserve.

The team of Home Depot managers and employees is looking forward to getting started on the project. Contract Desk Manager Bill Brown, who has an Army background, said, “This is going to be blast! It’s an honor thing.”



ENIKO JORDAN / IDAHO STATE JOURNAL   The Home Depot Foundation gives a gift card to representatives of the Marine Corps League; Ralph Lillig and Ronald Papia of the Marine Corps League, and Bill Brown, Leif Thompson, Kenny Hill, and Frank Zallnick of Home Depot.