The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Community members and patriots from across the U.S. as well as country music artist Lee Greenwood filled the street for a welcome home party for U.S. Marine Sgt. Josh Yarbrough and his family in Port Neches on Wednesday.
The welcome home party was more of a house warming party for Yarbrough, his wife Rachel, and young sons Sean and Patrick, who received a new custom built home courtesy of Helping a Hero.
The home, located in the 1800 block of Silkwood Court, features hardwood floors, wide doors and handicap accessible amenities to give the injured Marine (ret.) more freedom. Texas based HelpingaHero.org has partnered with Mike Sullivan, a Bridge City builder and president of the Homebuilders Association of Southeast Texas, to build the home designed to accommodate Yarbrough’s war injuries.
On June 15, 2011, while on patrol in Afghanistan, one of the Marines in Yarbrough’s squad stepped on an improvised explosive device. Yarbrough pulled his fellow Marine out of the canal and placed tourniquets on him, then went to help another of his comrades, but stepped on another IED. The explosion cost Yarbrough to lose both legs below the knee and his right index finger.
Standing near the front of their new home, Josh and Rachel Yarbrough looked out at the large crowd of supporters, many waving flags or holding up signs of encouragement. Fellow injured warriors, some with prosthetic legs or in wheelchairs, mingled with community members, neighbors and city and school district officials.
“We are overwhelmed,” Rachel Yarbrough said. “This is more then we expected.”
Josh Yarbrough added to his wife’s sentiments.
“We want to thank everyone for coming out and thank HelpingaHero and a big shout out to Mike Johnson Custom Homes,” he said prior to the ceremony.
Lee Greenwood stood inside the spacious 4-bedroom home preparing for the event.
“HelpingaHero.org is a marvelous organization that I’ve been involved with for several years that gives homes to soldiers who were wounded severely,” Greenwood said.
Greenwood met with the family before the event and even autographed Yarbrough’s guitar.
“He’s one of America’s sons and one of the community’s sons,” the musician said. “It’s great to see this kind of crowd here today. Josh has a tremendous will and it shows.”
Port Neches-Groves High School Band was on hand to perform the Military Service Song Medley and West Brook High School JROTC performed the presentation of the colors.
James White, White, representing the Military Order of the Purple Heart who’s also member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4820, was also on hand for the ceremony.
“It’s gratifying to know there are organizations concerned with our wounded warriors,” White said. “I’m proud to be part of this ceremony.”
Greenwood performed several patriotic songs including his signature song, “God Bless the USA” which led to tears for some audience members including Shawn Hanley, marketing director for Howell’s Furniture Co.
“Thank you so much for your service and sacrifices you’ve made,” Hanley said. Hanley met the Yarbrough’s several months earlier when they were looking for furniture. “All of your furniture is paid for. But it doesn’t even come close to repaying you. The furniture is actually out there in a truck and they will bring it in today.”
Representatives of Helping a Hero were on hand for the event including Meredith Iler, national chairman; Ret. Staff Sgt. Johnnie Yellock II, veteran’s liaison; Chuck Jenness, chairman of emeritus; and Ret. Col. Jeff Ragland, president and executive director.