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Program adds color to soldier's life
Feb 20, 2013 3:50 pm
From as early as he can remember, Jason Strand wanted to be in the U.S. Army.
He pursued that dream and has served in the National Guard for seven years, which included a tour in Afghanistan. He's recently returned home in Mt. Juliet to his wife, Caralynn, and their two girls, Lillian, 3, and Annabelle, 1.
They may be too young to fully realize their father is a hero. He served three years active duty in the 1st Infantry Division and was deployed to Iraq in 2004. He was hit by mortar fragments in his right thigh and was awarded the Purple Heart.
"Two of my friends were wounded that day as well," he said.
He also has been awarded three Army Achievement medals, two Army Commendation medals and campaign medals. His unit received a Presidential Unit Citation.
Today he's a staff sergeant in the Tennessee Army National Guard.
Originally from New York, he said he chose to live in Mt. Juliet because it fits his family's values.
This week was special for this wounded war veteran. There is an entire crew of painters at his home hired by the Mt. Juliet Benjamin Moore paint store to give his house a color facelift.
The 130-year-old American paint manufacturer is going to homes of wounded war veterans all across the U.S. to uplift them with color in their homes.
Lisa Jasper, a spokesperson for Benjamin Moore, said the initiative is called Color Care, and since 2011 there have been 51 makeovers to emergency shelters across the country. Now, they concentrate on the homes of returned wounded veterans.
"I was put into this contest by my former employer, Operation Stand Down Nashville, while I was on this last deployment," said Strand. "My family and I are very excited to have been picked out of everyone else in the state. I am not sure how I was picked, but we are very happy it worked out this way."
Experts estimate more than half of the 1.3 million returning military from the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq have some type of injury, said Benjamin Moore Director Carl Minchew.
"These are sobering statistics that led us to extend Benjamin Moore Color Care to our returning troops," he said. "For so many, the daily challenges they now face are a whole new kind of battleground. So, we are compelled to brighten their lives and bring the healing and heartening power of color to them with this program."
It's estimated Benjamin Moore will donate more than 3,000 gallons of paint for the projects.
Strand said his family had the help of a consultant to pick out all the colors for the makeover.
"They are painting the whole house, and we got to pick all the colors," he said. "They even helped finish the French doors I put in."
Strand was honored to be chosen, and his family has enjoyed the transformation. While his bedroom is a rich grey color, Lillian picked out a bit more colorful paint for her room.
"Yes, it's a sassy purple, just like she likes," said Strand.