The family of a Purple Heart recipient recently received the keys to a new mortgage-free home in the Nichols Vale subdivision of Mt. Juliet, gifted to them as a salute of thanks.
U.S. Army Sgt. Ethan LaBerge, his wife Arin (also an Army veteran), and their two children Lilly, 5, and Wyatt, 16 months received the home on Aug. 16.
During a combat mission in Afghanistan, Ethan’s platoon was leaving a meeting when a civilian detonated a bomb 10 feet from his group. He was in critical condition, with two fatalities and multiple injuries in the group. Along with the Purple Heart, Ethan was awarded a Combat Infantryman Badge and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars.
Ethan said he retired from the military in 2016. He’s undergone 11 surgeries and still suffers from memory loss, pain and cognitive challenges.
Arin said Operation FINALLY HOME (one of the three sponsor organizations with Beazer Homes and Ashlar Development) took the family to Ashley’s Home Furniture to pick out a dining room table and the master bedroom furniture. Their favorite place in their new home is the kitchen.
Lilly’s room is painted grey (like in her former home) but now, “she wants her walls to be the colors of a rainbow,” Arin said.
“She is growing up and knows what she likes, she’s the perfect mix of tomboy and girly girl,” said Arin. “Everyone is so friendly here, and supportive and to have kids living on both sides of us is so great.”
The family moved to Wilson County from Colorado. Arin has many family members who live in Lebanon.
“This is the first new home we’ve ever had,” Ethan said. “I’m doing good with this huge sense of community. I’m currently not working at a job and look forward to being at home and taking care of the kids.”