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A big push to help a wounded warrior

Army Staff Sgt. Juan Roldan has spent the better part of five years in Army and Veterans Affairs hospitals, battling for his life, for his health, and the chance to do the things most of us take for granted.

Like spending time with family, going for a drive, or taking a walk in a park.

An explosively formed penetrator, sometimes referred to as a shaped charge -- an explosive device designed to piece armor -- turned his life upside down when it struck his U.S. Army vehicle in Sadr City, Iraq, on Dec. 29, 2006.

He lost both legs above the knees, and suffered a traumatic brain injury and damage to his spinal cord.

Brad Teitelbaum calls Roldan a “veteran who more than paid the price.”

Teitelbaum, a Vietnam vet, is a leader at Faith Lutheran Church, 9608 U.S. 301, Parrish, just down the road from where a team of volunteers built a home for Roldan last year.

Unfortunately, the home sits vacant.

Roldan has been unable to move into the home because his medical treatment continues, and the home has no furniture.

This past week, members of Faith Lutheran Church set about doing something to furnish the home.

They announced that they will hold a rummage sale 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 17 and 8 a.m.-noon Feb. 18 with proceeds going to help the wounded warrior set up housekeeping.

Thrivent Financial Services, a Lutheran fraternal insurance company, will provide a match of up to $1,500, says Marjorie Weiss who is co-chairing the sale with her husband, Tom.

That won’t come close to furnishing the house, but it will be a step in the right direction as a community works to help one who sacrificed so much

“He has a tough life ahead of him,” said Jay King, one of the volunteers who is seeking to help a neighbor.

The Rev. Philip Vangen said it’s a natural for members of the church to want to help.

Recent Bible study classes have been on compassion.

“What a wonderful chance this is to meet the needs of someone in a compassionate manner,” Vangen said.

Alan Anderson, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association Manatee-Sarasota, coordinated construction of Roldan’s home last year in association with Homes for Our Troops.

Many of the HBA’s members donated skills and materials.

At the end of the build there were a few thousand dollars left over that went into a fund as a store credit to help with furniture, Anderson said.

“Four thousand dollars doesn’t get you very much,” he said.

The Weisses say the rummage sale will offer books, CDs, videos, garden items, games, toys, jewelry and more.

For more about the rummage sale, call Marjorie Weiss at 248-844-3834.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021. Tweet @jajones1.